live to love another day

I don’t know how other people do trauma or even therapy for that matter. I’m certainly no expert on self-care or balance. I don’t have all of the answers for how to navigate this stuff. I only know what it’s like for me.

If you happen to listen to our podcast, you know this is a major focus of my life right now. I may not have all of the answers, but I sure am a seeker of truth and the best practices I can try to implement. Fortunately, I have the most amazing gift right now… time.

When the kids’ lives got to the point that they needed me less, we made the decision that I would take that time to focus on my mental health and wellbeing for a while. It was a tough decision for me to make. Life would be a lot easier if we had that second income; however, so much of our family’s life is still quite demanding and unpredictably needy. My having the flexibility to tend to those needs when they arise is still a high priority.

Most days; however, I do have a lot more time in my day to focus on self care, mental health care, self-exploration and discovery… so many amazing things. The problem with this scenario is oh my god I have so much time to focus on myself ewww yuck I hate this. I’m a work in progress, what can I say? A typical “me” day looks something like: wake, sit under my gorgeous tree and drink my morning tea, do some yoga, meditate, journal, listen to teachings, explore various therapies and healing modalities, and so on. That might be followed by a little housework, maybe some cooking and overall just being with myself. Sounds like bliss, right? Another typical day might also look like: wake, lay in bed on my phone scrolling instagram, tiktok, playing puzzle games, and actively participating in any other mindless check-out and avoidance technique I can find. Maybe after a while I’ll get up and find some lunch (because I’ve been laying there so long it’s now lunch time,) return to bed with chips, some dry cereal and two pieces of licorice I found in the back of the pantry and repeat the morning. I might add a nap in there along the way, but rinse and repeat until it’s time to get up and drive through McDonald’s (because it’s just around the corner so no need to put on a bra) for dinner and return to bed for more of the same. Then, for the  pièce de résistance, maybe I’ll just stay up half the night because “hello insomnia my old friend, hasn’t this been an exceptional day of depression and feeling like absolute garbage and mentally flogging myself because I suck? We should definitely do it again tomorrow, right?”

There’s not a lot of in between if I’m being honest. I’m either amazing or pretty shitty (at least that’s the story I tell myself. I’m still working on being kind and compassionate to myself, okay?!) I’m either all in on taking the best care of myself or all in on avoiding everything of any substance because ohmygod I cannot fucking deal with myself today or probably tomorrow either.

Why am I like this?!? I don’t know. I’m still waiting for the magic of therapy to reveal this to me. Just kidding, I have a pretty good idea but I don’t want to deal with that today. Or probably tomorrow either.

Please hear me when I say, I know this is a privilege and fortune that 90% of people do not have. We aren’t rich by any means and sometimes the guilt I feel about not bringing in an income on the tight months is downright painful. I honestly just don’t have the mental capacity right now to handle a job on top of kid stuff and my mental health. It’s really hard for me to admit that. Even though my kids don’t require the time they once did, they still take up so much of my mental bandwidth. Helping two neurodivergent children (even if they are half-grown pseudo adults) navigate life’s challenges, their own trauma and therapies and treatments is a lot. There are parents/caregivers far more equipped than I who do it all while balancing their careers, etc. I just don’t have that in me. I never have. I know I’ve been viewed by some as being spoiled or lazy or just downright entitled. They can think whatever the hell they want, but the truth is I don’t have the mental fortitude to do it all, and I don’t feel guilty or less than about it…not anymore (most days.)

Giving myself the space to be who I am without comparing myself has been a game-changer when it comes to taking care of me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very huge struggle, but I have a tiny nugget of realization in the back of my mind that helps me out most days. I’m working on listening to that truth and ingraining it into my actual daily thoughts as much as I can. It goes something like this:

“I don’t have to have it all together. It’s okay that I’m not always mentally strong. I am carrying the mental and emotional load for three people almost every day. It is hard and downright exhausting. It’s okay that it’s my full time job. It’s okay I can’t manage more than that. I’m worth the sacrifice of a fancy life so my people and I can be well cared for and loved to the best of my ability. And when I have days where I can’t even do any of that, that’s okay too. Today I can rest my brain and my soul and know that when I can, I’ll get back up and keep going.”

I don’t know how anyone else does this stuff, but that’s how I am doing it. I take my meds, I try my damnedest to tell myself truths every day, and I cut myself slack whenever I can’t. At least that’s the goal.

Oh, and I live to love another day. That’s the most important part.

let’s do this

I’ve had a podcast for over two years. We average about 200 listens per episode, but it takes a good long while and a blood sacrifice on a full moon to reach those numbers. I haven’t paid one bit of attention to anything blog related in years, and I log in today to find that I had over 200 visits on any given day last week. What the hell?? Is blogging making an actual comeback? Because I am down to clown if so. God I love writing nonsense and getting immediate feedback from the people that read it. It’s honestly the second best high I’ve ever felt. We won’t talk about the first…

In my years as a writer, I’ve blogged about everything from my literal babies (who are now grown ass adult-ish) to my kid’s autism diagnosis to the time I went to see male strippers in a dive bar in the armpit of the Pacific Northwest. There is no subject I won’t beat to death with my laptop. I love it to the deepest part of me.

So, why don’t I ever do this anymore? I mean…huh. Good question. Commitment issues? I don’t know. One time about 12 years ago I got writer’s block and I never got over it. The world changed from people creating communities around blogs to cramming creativity into140 character tweets. Then we went all “60 second soundbites” and fuckitall I’m not cut out for that life. The world of podcasts is amazing and I do love it, but the back and forth community just isn’t there for me. Plus, I like to write at all times of the day whenever the hell I want to and… I don’t know. Why am I even thinking about this. Just write, sister.

This is what I do. This is how I process. This is who I am.

For about eleventy-five years I joked that blogging was my “free therapy.” Well, cut to now and I am ass over teakettle in actual therapy (that is definitely not free,) but when I need to work some shit out it’s right here. I currently have 147 unpublished drafts that will never see the light of day. This free-flowing stream of consciousness is my love language.

The only difference is, I’m ready to start pushing “publish” again. And I really hope I stick with it.

What’s changed and what has stayed the same?

Well, you can always count on me to be full of piss and vinegar, as my Papa used to say. My mouth still rivals that of a trucker, my sass abounds and my heart is still full of love for absolutely everyone except assholes. Jimmie is and will forever be my soul mate, and he drives me batshit less and less as the years go on. This November we will celebrate 20 years and that is just insane to me because I’m still 22.

More has changed than we even have time for. My babies are definitely NOT babies. Sis is 19 and has been living on her own for the past year. Bub is 16 and about to start his sophomore year at a new high school. We’ve moved back and forth across the state of Washington more times than I care to count during the past 20 years, but we have settled back in Eastern WA, and this is where we hope to spend the rest of our days…for now. I do miss the coastal breeze, so I will be taking lots of trips back to my favorite beaches.

The biggest change, though, is in me. As I said, I’m in the thick of some pretty intense therapy. I started personal therapy about a year ago. Sis left for college and I decided to get serious about caring for myself. During Covid and about a year of being stuck inside with myself, I got real with myself about needing professional help. Like so many others, my anxiety and overall mental health was a shit show. I went on meds, and shortly after we began family therapy. Our family therapist is the gift of a lifetime, and now she sees both Sis and I individually. I am not overstating it when I say she has saved our lives.

When I was ready to start being honest with myself about the trauma I’ve experienced in my life, I really started to see how much it was affecting not only me but my relationships with my kids, Jim and all the important things/people in my life. Choosing to face the excruciating realities that have dogged me since early childhood has given me a whole new life. It’s nowhere near as easy as that sounds, but a huge part of this blog is going to be me talking through that.

All jokes aside, that writer’s block that started oh so long ago? Well that was just me not wanting to dig into the story of my life. It was more than writer’s block. It was me shutting down and not being able to process and feel the hard stuff. I reached capacity and made a choice to embrace survival rather than living. Sure, sometimes we have to do what we have to do to make it through, but merely surviving sucks. I don’t ever want to choose to simply make it. I want to live and I want to do it in a way that makes other people want to live.

It would be super for me if writing here again is part of that.

I even ripped off my super long nails that made it hard as hell for me to type. So I guess I’m really invested now.

Let’s do this.

I’m done perpetuating hate

I sit in my comfy suburban home, curled up on my cozy couch, watching cities burn on the tv hanging in front of me. I feel no fear for my life, the lives of my children or my community. I am completely unaffected in every way. I am white and sheltered and privileged. I am a coward.

My heart breaks for men and women who fear for their lives, the lives of their children and the lives of their community because of their skin color. I am angry with those who are angry, unwilling to accept that the world they live in, that was built on their backs, doesn’t belong to them any more now than it did when their people was forced to create it. Their voices mean little more now than they did when they wore shackles. Their lives are still a small price to pay for the comfort of white men.

I know this truth, I hate this truth, and I mourn this truth. When it is in the news. When someone happens to catch a video of the daily hatred, and it is in a news cycle again, and I am reminded of the daily hate and struggle, I am enraged. As soon as my social media is quiet again, I am busy with my own struggles, and I pay it no attention.

I am privileged.

What’s worse than all of this: I am silent. I retweet a #blacklivesmatter tweet, because none of my immediate circle follows my twitter, and it is safe. I share someone’s whitewashed meme on my instagram, because it makes just enough of a statement to say that I’m not ignorant, but it still remains safe. I send heart emojis and love to those I know are struggling, because it’s private and unoffensive, and it remains safe.

My black friends might occasionally call me caring and sympathetic. Calling me an ally would be a stretch. An advocate I am not. I am lukewarm at best, and a coward.

I know I have family, and friends who are like family, who roll their eyes at me when I make a statement in support of #blacklivesmatter. They may respond with an #alllivesmatter or “but they…first” retort. They will judge me and argue with me and possibly reject me. I don’t want to rock the boat. I don’t want to make waves in a relationship that already has strains. I don’t want to take a risk. I don’t want to offend. I don’t want to…not be safe.

I have a choice of whether or not I’m “safe.” I AM PRIVILEGED.

All of this, those first 439 words, they disgust me. If black men and women can walk around this world fearing for their lives because they are driving down the street black, I can grow up and at least stand tall with them and say some truth. This is my truth:

This is not okay. It never was and it never will be. Stop making murder okay. Stop shaming a man that tried to protest peacefully and dared to offend your precious national anthem. Stop pretending that it somehow disrespects our troops and what America stands for. You know that’s not true. Stop shaming “angry black women” for standing up for their husbands and sons and begging for their lives to stop being disposable. Stop making excuses for kids and men that are committing PETTY CRIMES (at most) and are being killed in the street while white men stand on government steps with assault rifles in the faces of law enforcement. Stop making black on black crime an excuse to execute black people in the streets. Stop saying All Lives Matter until ALL lives actually matter. Stop saying Blue Lives Matter until Bad Cops stop executing black people in the streets and “Good Cops” don’t do shit about it. Stop blaming desperate people for riots and looting when that is not the point. Stop focusing on all of the things “they” are doing wrong so that you don’t have to look at the fact that you are perpetuating hate. Stop saying if “they” would just listen to the cops and not resist they wouldn’t get shot. Stop saying “they” should just follow the law. Stop making excuses for murder. Stop saying “I’m not privileged, I’ve had struggles, too.  when your hard life has nothing to do with your skin color. Stop making excuses for hate.

Stop silencing vocal white people with your intimidation and shame because we dare to stand up for what is right. Stop making fun of me when I stand for what is right. Stop making me feel like I’m sacrificing relationship with you by caring about people being murdered in the streets in broad daylight.

Stop. Perpetuating. Hate.

I’m not playing along anymore. I’m done backing down when it gets hard or I get “scared.”

If that means I don’t get invited to the family reunion, so be it.

when the sh*t hits the fan

If you’ve listened to this week’s podcast, you know this shit hit the fan around here this week.

This mama snapped. Words were said. Hands were thrown. Tears were cried. Shame was HAD.

You know the old saying, “If you think life is hard try raising a mini version of yourself during a pandemic?” No? That’s not an old saying? Well it fucking is now. Only my mini version is bigger than I am now and maybe more ruthless. God I do love her so.

We are living in some really weird times. Seriously, think about it. Have you ever even in your life imagined that you’d be forced to stay home for weeks on end, not even be allowed to work or go to school or do whatever in hell you do, oh and by the way, you may or may not be drawing a paycheck to pay for your life?! No?! Yah, no. Me either. Never crossed my mind. It does things to us. It makes us crazy(er). And it’s just hard as shit.

But you guys, we’re doing it. We’re surviving all this. We’re growing and figuring it out. We might even come out of this better people. But it’s sure as shit going to be messy in the process. Right now…my life, my brain, MY EMOTIONS are really messy. Somehow though, it feels like part of the process. Part of the becoming. I’ve got no idea where this ship is sailing, and I just feel along for the ride.

Part of this process for me is overcoming a lot of self-doubt and a lot of shame. There’s one thing I know for sure: if I didn’t have my people in my life- the ones that get into the shit with me and help me find my way out- things would not be good for me right now. Not good at all.

Please find the Everything’s (not) Fine podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. I’d love to share this part of my world with you.

Here’s a link to this week’s episode, “when the shit hits the fan” on Apple Podcasts.

Love and peace to you. Stay safe!

it finally happened…

Dear Lonely Blog,

After years of almosts, so close and too many empty promises, I’m facing the hard truth that I am no longer a blogger. At least, not in the same way I once was. I love you and all of the things you’ve given me over the years, but I have to move on now. I guess this is it. I’ll never forget you.

My new love…is a shiny new world called the podcast, and I love her with all my heart.

Readers, long time friends and supporters that for some reason still get emails when I post something on here, I want you to know that the new adventure I’m on is amazing and I love it and I want you to love it as much as I do. It’s the breath of fresh air I’ve been so desperate for. It’s everything I need right now, and I hope it’s something you might want, too. This space will likely become the area I post our weekly podcast show notes and other things that are inspired by that show, but I’m hoping it will also be a place I still escape to for the occasional blog. No empty promises, though.

For now, I want to share this with you. This is the introduction episode to my new podcast called Everything’s (not) Fine, which is basically just an audible version of everything this blog ever was, in conversation form with my dear friend and co-host, Nicole. If you follow me on social media you may have already learned about it, or even listened to an episode, but I did not want even one person that has been a part of this part of my life not to hear it.

Thank you for being such a part of my life for the past thirteen years. You have literally saved me more times than you know. I love you.

Click here to play the episode on Podbean

Click here to play the episode on Apple Podcast 

(Spotify and other podcast streaming services to come.)

playing our song

My relationship with my husband didn’t begin in the most conventional way. We met in what was basically a religious cult, and grew to be good friends over time. Around five years later, he began to show some interest romantically, but I wasn’t feeling it yet. Another couple of years later, I finally came to my senses and we were married a year later. I definitely love my husband dearly, but I’m not what one would consider an overly touchy-feely soft and gooey person. I’m practical. I’m not all that into PDA and I’m definitely not a lovey romantic. I feel bad for him, because he is definitely a romantic in his way, but our relationship has always been one of best friends at the foundation with some romance sprinkled on top every now and again.

Way, way back in the beginning he began singing “our song” to me. Actually, he sang three lines of our song to me and then it would always trail off into humming. I’d never heard the song, and hand to god, I’ve always thought he just made it up. He’s always insisted it was a real song, but I had never heard anything that sounded remotely like it, and I just thought he was mixing up something he’d heard once upon a time and put his own spin to it- which was equally great to me. It’s a sweet little tune and early in our marriage he’d sing or hum it to me all the time. Now, it’s usually when he grabs me in the kitchen and slow dances me around or if he knows I need a little chuckle. Do you SEE what a loving romantic I’m married to and how it’s so sad that I’m such a cold fish?! Poor sap.

I’ve been noticing that as we’re getting older and the kids are growing up and life is settling down more, I definitely have become more sentimental and maybe even a little gooey – if only every great once in a while. This week; however, I fear I may have fallen head over heels totally, madly in love with this man. Smitten. Sixteen and a half years later, and he finally got to me.

A few weeks ago we were driving and all of a sudden I heard a very familiar tune. It was the song. I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock! He just kept laughing at me and telling me he knew it was real. I was in such disbelief that I didn’t even listen to all the words, we just kept laughing and it was honestly just so surreal. Earlier this week, I flippantly mentioned that I wish I could hear the song again because I wanted to hear the actual words (still thinking he’d made up his own version, haha!)

Yesterday I was in the shower, and I hear him come in and start setting up his music. He always listens to music when he’s in the shower, and I never do. For a split second I was giving an eye roll that he was messing up my quiet time with his music. Then, I heard the tune. I opened the curtain to see him give me a little twinkle-eyed grin, and we both chuckled.  I stood in my shower listening to that song with tears streaming down my face.  It’s like that song was written for us. He’s been carrying around this song in his heart for seventeen years, and I’m just hearing it for the first time. I can’t explain why, but it’s exactly what I needed right now.

Our marriage has always been rock solid. We had to fight for it, and we’ve certainly had our share of battles to overcome over the years. They’ve always brought us closer, and we have always been best friends but sometimes the lovey romance gets lost in the shuffle. Hearing that song, and knowing that this is what he’s been singing to me in his heart all these years has left me in a puddle. It’s nothing short of a gift to my soul right now. Even after seventeen years, our love can be renewed and deepened by one simple act- one simple song. That’s probably the best gift I’ve ever been given. I didn’t even know I needed it, but it’s like a cold drink of water on the hottest day- just the fresh start that I needed for this season of our life.

Thanks to some guy named Sammy Kershaw for singing our song.

(I know that this is just a mush-fest display of affection that is super out of character for me, but I just needed to get it out there.)

it’s about to get real REAL around here

In an effort to undo approximately 12 years of all but ruining my children in the area of personal responsibility, I have recently launched Operation Grow Up. Don’t tell them. They don’t know about it yet. They think I’ve just turned into an evil witch determined to destroy their lives.

Okay, in all seriousness, my 16 and 13 year olds might be a teeny-tiny bit behind what some would advise for personal motivation and self-discipline. If there is one thing I am not going to release onto the world it’s people who can’t take care of themselves in a pinch. So, this summer we are going to work a little extra on some life-skills development. I’m already equal parts looking forward to it and dreading the ever-living shit out of it. I’m looking forward to imparting my vast wisdom of how to actually survive at life, and I am loathing the idea of how much push-back and whining is about to ensue. I’m sure some of the activities are going to be borderline fun for one of them, but I’m positive the fun isn’t going to last more than 5 minutes.

Here’s some things I’m planning to work on:
For the 16 (who plans to get a summer job, but at the very least will be babysitting for cash)

  • Apply and interview for jobs
  • Open and manage a checking account (yikes. I’m most scared of this one.)
  • Develop a personal budget and *fingers crossed* actually follow it
  • Learn to change a tire and other car/driver related things that I’m still working on
  • Email etiquette – practiced by taking over communication with college contacts!

For the 13 (who, up to this point, hardly cleans his room and unloads the dishwasher with any regular success. ugh.)

  • Learn to do laundry and begin doing his own from now till forever
  • Basic money management
  • Basic cleaning skills- things like strip, wash and replace sheets. sweep and mop (thoroughly!) and similar tasks.
  • Purchase gas and fill the car tank
  • Wash and clean cars – inside and out

Tasks to work on together (read also: learning better teamwork with people who think differently than you)

  • Meal planning, budgeting and shopping. I’m thinking Elle will be the boss and supervise Jordan, but I’m also wanting him to plan and execute a week of lunches and her a week of dinner.
  • Basic table and social etiquette
  • If we survive this, I will think of other similar tasks. 🙂

This might seem small and silly to some, but this will probably take all of my mental energy for the summer, ha! I just need these kids to realize a few things:

  1. The things that magically happen in their world on a daily basis while they’re at school or at play aren’t done by magical fairies. It’s hard and thankless work, and it requires sacrifice.
  2. Accomplishing those things also provides a great deal of personal satisfaction and pride in your work ethic if you do them well.

Cross your fingers for us. It might be a bumpy ride this summer.

first grade

I became a helicopter mom in the first grade. Okay, obviously I did not become a mother in the first grade, and we all know there were no helicopter moms in the 80’s, but the foundation was definitely laid that year. My destiny was determined by a series of unfortunate events and a skewed sense of reality.

You know how you have those weird memories of your childhood that are just a perfect snapshot, detailing every tiny nuance? If you ask me to provide that amount of detail about what I had for breakfast just this morning it would be impossible. Ask about the first grade Christmas gift exchange party of 1983, and I’ve got you. I think I’ve recounted parts of this story before, but my perspective on it has certainly changed over the past few years.

My first grade year started with Ms. Pam. She must have been pretty pregnant already, because by Christmas she was out on maternity leave. Miss Kelly came in as a long-term sub, and I’m just now realizing that these are the only two teachers I ever had that went by their first names. It must have been their youth. A short time before the holidays, I’m sure there was some announcement about a Christmas party complete with gift exchange. I remember drawing names for a fellow student to buy for, and the rule of a maximum price tag on the gift. I’m 99% sure my mom and I did the shopping the night before the party. I have no idea what I bought my classmate, or even Miss Kelly, but the gift for Ms. Pam is etched in my brain forever.

We wandered the aisles of Walmart for quite a while, searching for the perfect gift for Ms. Pam. I remember my mom asking me repeatedly how much we were allowed to spend on the gifts and my response being somewhere between $.50 and $5. I don’t know. It was certainly difficult to find something suitable in that price range. I’m sure I had the details wrong, whatever the number I came up with, because I just remember it being quite the ordeal to find that perfect gift.  Finally I found a tiny red candle that was in a white ceramic dish and smelled strongly of cinnamon. I think it had a lid with a heart or angel on top of it, but that part’s a little fuzzy. I remember being really excited to take it to the party and bestow it upon my teacher. I think she was the first pregnant woman I really knew, and she was magical to me.

The next day at the party, once all the gifts were exchanged and kids were bouncing around on sugar highs, I overheard the two teachers talking in concerned teacher voices. Being the ever curious child I was, I listened in to the conversation without their knowing. After hearing bits and pieces of their chat, I realized they were talking about me and the gifts I had brought to the exchange. Ms. Pam had received some very generous gifts, that even my six year old brain had deduced were NOT within the set price range- a handmade baby blanket being the one that stands out most. They were questioning my homelife and wondering what was going on and the stability of my family.

Well into my adulthood, whenever I recalled this memory I would get the same pit in my stomach. I felt embarrassed- less than the other kids, and that same red hot feeling of shame would wash over me. I hated those teachers. I hated them for making me feel like my gift was less than the others that they received. I hated that my mom wasn’t at that party when so many of the other moms were, and that I was left to just feel those feelings all alone. Later, I hated that she didn’t know the details and expected a six year old to know and how that ended up causing me a lot of hurt. And I still hate the smell of cinnamon candles.

A few years ago, when I looked back on that conversation between two teachers, I realized that they weren’t gossipping about a kid who couldn’t afford to bring a decent gift for the teacher.  They were having one of those conversations that concerned adults do when something seems off about a kid. They weren’t aware that I had misunderstood the rules of the exchange and told my mom that we couldn’t spend more on the teacher. They picked up on the fact that my mom, who was working no less than two jobs to support our severely messed up family, was most definitely not in tune with the goings on in the first grade. They saw past the precocious teacher’s pet and found a hurting little girl who was living in a world of alcoholism and abuse from a dad that wasn’t fit to care for a child, and a mom who was working so hard to put food on the table she didn’t have a clue about much of anything that was going on in my life.

Something happened to me in that stupid party, and for years and years of class parties and school events without a parent in sight after that. As seems to be the case with much of my generation, I swung so far in the opposite direction it might have become a little unbalanced. When my kids entered school, I was present for every single possible moment. I was working part-time, but I made sure that I was always there for every meet the teacher, class party, ice cream social, drop-off-to-pick-up moment. I would break laws to make sure I was one of the first parents to the pick up line and that no child would ever be forgotten or picked up late on my watch. Once I went to work full-time, I made sure Jim was on the same page. I would call him (and still sometimes do, much to his annoyance) to make sure he didn’t get so busy in his day that he lost track of time. When they were in daycare, I was a mess. I was neurotic to the point that I eventually quit working full time and became a work from home mom. The decision wasn’t consciously made because of my issues (Jordan really struggled in daycare,) but I’m pretty sure my neurosis did not help my children in any way. Once I was a full-time mom I volunteered in classrooms, chaperoned field trips, dropped off forgotten items, brought in birthday lunches and cupcakes, provided the BEST teacher gifts for every holiday and teacher appreciation day, did much of the work on science fair projects and on and on and on.  I got a little better in middle school, but I still volunteered more than the average parent. And then somewhere along the way, I just got really tired.

More recently than I’d like to admit, I realized that my behavior was just not okay. My kids don’t have the ability to grow if I don’t let them out of this tiny little pot I planted them in. They don’t live in a home where dad is abusive and mom can’t manage to take on any more responsibility. They are nurtured. They have security and stability. They just need more room to grow. Now I fear that my hovering tendencies have done too much damage and they will never leave this nest fully developed. Whenever I want to claw my eyes out in frustration that they seem unable to fully take responsibility for much of anything, I blame myself on a whole new level. Mom-Guilt is the actual freaking worst! Somehow we will all find our way through this, of that I am ultimately determined, but I’ve got to tell you- this really really sucks. Find a balance people. As early as you possibly can- find a freaking balance somewhere between that little girl at the gift exchange and wherever the heck we are right now. 🙂

 

 

the best /adult/ part of the season

Every year Jimmie and I host an adult only Christmas party full of shenanigans and with a ridiculous theme.

See…shenanigans.
shitters-full-pic

We used to host it at our house. (This pic was at our house during the “Christmas Vacation” themed party. I would never allow myself to wear pants that uncomfortable and, quite frankly, UNFLATTERING out in public- and we won’t even talk about Jimmie.)  A few years ago, the party outgrew our house.  We wanted to keep up the tradition, and wanted to make it open for our friends to bring their friends, so we created the Annual Christmas Crawl.  You guys, this event is quite honestly the best thing you can experience in your life, if you like to have fun.  It’s ridiculous on so many levels I can’t even tell you.

What’s a Christmas Crawl, you say?  Quite simply, it’s a pub crawl through the most amazing dive bars in our neighboring small town you can imagine, right in the middle of the most stressful time of year.  Every bar has a challenge or activity and it’s just seriously the most fun you can have within the law (mostly.)  This year’s “guests” topped out at around 60 people when everyone was actually present and accounted for.  There was a lot of wandering aimlessly by some people and a few “oh my god, does anyone have eyes on _____” a few more times in the night, so I don’t think we were ever all actually together.  Grown ups have a lot of stress around the holidays, and an adult night that isn’t spent with your work people, your family or your kids, tends to get a little bit rowdy.

The beauty of the Christmas Crawl, is that it’s an open invite for anyone and everyone. We start by inviting our friends, and we all but beg them to invite their friends.  Like most people our age, we have friends from a lot of different circles of our life. Everyone from family members that we love hanging out with, to friends from our kids’ schools or sports teams to neighbors to the “how did we even meet?!” friends.  This means, the friends of friends crowd is even more diverse and eclectic.  It’s amazing!

We start the night an awkward group of people that loosely resemble middle-schoolers lined up on the opposite sides of the gym at our first school dance, and end the night with some dude you don’t know nestled in your bosom while your husband holds him up and his wife swears he’s been roofied because this is SO out of character (and it truly is.)  It’s truly the most magical time of the year. This year was especially amazing, because around stop number three or four, we just starting adopting people from the bar into our group.  We seriously made friends with a guy who Jim and I immediately made our Facebook friend and decided was now part of our family whether he likes it or not.  He’s front and center of our group photo from the night, as he should be!
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(This is just a sample of the group, hopefully small enough to protect the identities of the innocent.)

This year’s theme was holiday/festive pajamas.  Jimmie was Olaf and I had some ridiculous winter onesie on.  It was…epic. I tried to think of any other word to use because that one is so done, but that’s really all I’ve got. Jimmie in a giant, white, fictional snowman pajama suit can be nothing less than epic.  Most of our friends got into the spirit of it all, and those that didn’t were wishing they did by the end of the night (whether they admit it or not.)

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EDIT- Jim just read this and demanded I add funny details for everyone to experience…

My favorite part of the night is a little game I like to call drink or dare. It’s full of stupid challenges that intend to 1) break the ice among strangers and 2) embarrass as many people as possible. Some of the challenges are mild: high five every person in the bar, call everyone “Chief” for half an hour and take a selfie with a stranger are a few of my faves. Other challenges are a little silly: every time you laugh pump your arm like Tiger Woods…you get the drift. My personal favorite was “go caroling with a group of friends.”  Imagine your family sitting in a cute little pizza place and a group of strange, possibly drunk, men coming around in their pajamas singing Christmas carols. That happened. And here’s a little video of a small part of those events…


One of our friends was dressed in a Rocky onesie. Everywhere we went he sang the theme song and raised his arms like the champ. Everywhere. And then there was our group Santa Clause. This little outfit is probably illegal in most states. 


I’m honestly not sure why the town of puyallup even allows us to keep doing this year after year. We are complete menaces. 

Probably the most fun event of the night is the photo scavenger hunt. Here’s a pic of the challenges…


It’s amazing what total strangers will do for you to help you win a stupid scavenger hunt that has no real prize. 

I have no other point to make except to tell you that you need this in your life.  Start planning it now. Make a reason to get all of your friends together for something like this- or however best fits into your life.  It’s the best grown-up part of our holiday season.  We walk away amazed at the friendships and love that we have in our life.  Wishing you the same joy and love in your holiday season…

 

 

 

 

trenches

I made a comment on the Facebook a couple of months ago about how I miss the olden days of “mommy blogs,” and what they meant to me. I can’t even tell you how many of my friends were all “preach it sister! We need to bring back the good ol’ days!” (or something far more profound than that.)

Years before this particular blog transpired, my daily lifeline was the blog I wrote when the kids were babies.  A stay at home mom of two little carpet monkeys, deep in the trenches of lifeMySpace and my blog were my life’s blood.  There were mornings I’d stumble to the computer with a baby attached to each limb just to reach out to someone who could relate. –You guys, this was before the smart phone.  There was no rocking the baby while browsing the Facebook (There was NO Facebook.) This was haul out your laptop (if you were so lucky) and hope that the typing sounds didn’t wake the precious little life-drainer.  There were no baby wraps and slings- we balanced those little buggers on one knee and typed with one hand. This was OG real shit. God it was good.

As women, we were a unit.  We rallied around each other when the nights were long and sleep was short.  We congratulated each other on showering and the ability to survive “crying it out.”  We reminded each other to put on our big girl panties and press on through the tantrums and puke-fests.  We cried together when jobs were lost and cross-country moves were made.  We cheered one another on when we managed to handle whatever curve-ball life threw at us.  And we high-fived each other when we somehow managed to sneak in sex and actually enjoy it.  We were REAL, and we saved each other.

I mean this with the utmost respect, but these young/today moms don’t know what they’re missing. I love that they have their instagram and their communities and their pinterest-worthy etsy creations (whatever they may be,) but it’s just not the same. If I were a young mom today I would hide in the bathroom with a bottle of wine and cry myself to nap time. There’s so much damn pressure.  All this “what I’m doing now” staged photography and “join my circle” stuff I can’t even begin to follow makes my head spin.  Girl, if someone told me to take a selfie and post it for my “community” when I was in the trenches I would have asked how much they’d been drinking and did they have more to share.  A SELFIE! After three days of no sleep?  How about you go and fuck yourself?!  Here’s a photo: my dog puked on the floor and my new crawler decided today would be a fun day to discover finger painting. How’s that for a photo op?

I LOVE that things are evolving and social media is what it is.  It’s still somewhat of a lifeline to me, but I don’t have time to stage my house to look like it’s clean so I can take a “what I’m doing now” selfie.  My kids may be in school, but one of them has been sleeping on my floor for three weeks because that damn XBox game with the zombies scared the shit out of him. And I can’t sleep with him snoring at my feet! I’ll pass on the selfie documentation of these bags under my eyes, thankyouverymuch. There’s no less than 6 loads of laundry on my dining room table because my back has been out for days, and I think my dog just peed somewhere. That makes a lovely photo backdrop, right?

My point? It’s just too much. But I do miss having that kind of community.  I miss my ladies laughing and high-fiving, and even crying through the cyberspace together. I miss the men stumbling into our world and getting a brief “oooohhhhh” moment and understanding just what the hell was going on in our minds.  (Or an AAAAAHHHHH moment and running away for dear life!)  I miss the encouragement and the camaraderie.

This past month the OG mommyblogger of us all, Dooce, hung up her keyboard and is moving on from the blogging world.  (Real talk, I didn’t even know she was still blogging.  I kind of assumed that when I stopped so did everyone else. Because…I’m self-involved?)  Heather was a pioneer of mommyblogs.  She made people want to lay their shit bare and gather round one another. When I read about her decision today it made me sad.  Not for her, but that we’re in a time that people don’t gather around one another and push through the trenches together.  People clean one corner of their otherwise CRAZY house/life so they can snap perfectly filtered snapshots of their tidy little life to impress one another.  I’m sure their communities are encouraging and uplifting in their way, but it’s just…not the trenches.

Motherhood is raw.  It’s messy.  It’s ugly.  No instagram filter can hide the vulnerability of motherhood. So who do these women have?  There are people that I love and eternally respect because of the bond we made in the trenches. I ache for those relationships some days.  It’s been twelve years and I still need them on days that my daughter rolls her eyes at me and stomps away. (Usually to remind me that she’s just like me and that yes, I must actually let her live to see another day.)

I want us to revive the trenches.  I want to walk through the next twelve years of motherhood with the same community I started the first twelve with.  I want to show the younger moms that the trenches of motherhood are filled with a love and beauty so deep that a filter can’t begin to mimic its glow. I read about the “Mommy Wars” and I just shake my head.  We had mommy wars, but we were all fighting for the same thing: survival.  If you’d stop trying to make yourselves look so damn perfect,you wouldn’t have the burning desire to tear one another down. (I mean, there will always be that guy, but I just don’t think to the extent that we see now.)

I don’t know, maybe this is just a pipe dream, but I think it might be becoming my dream.