Monthly Archives: November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving. I’m Bringing the Ham.

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It is no secret that I am not a fan of cooking. Sure, I make dinner pretty much every night for my family. But that’s because if I don’t, they will starve, wind up eating crap or I will be talked about behind my back for being a terrible wife and mother and it’s bad enough that it takes me a month to clean my house so I figure I should do something that resembles some sort of domestic act.

I’ve had a running joke for 22 years about holiday cooking. I’m like a broken record this time of year. Especially if I run into a friend or acquaintance at the local Shop Rite. “So, Mo, are you cooking Thanksgiving dinner?” My answer starts out like this, “Umm, that would be a HELL NO!”  I then repeat for the 253rd time, verbatim, the only speech I made on my wedding day. The gist of my little speech? I basically made it very clear that I would never, ever host a holiday dinner EVER.

Last week, this exact thing happened. I saw a friend of mine ahead of me in line. “So, Mo, are you cooking Thanksgiving dinner?” My reply? See above. Of course this friend just laughed and laughed. But the woman behind me? She snapped her head in my direction and glared at me as if I had just fed my child some glass shards.

I risked a peek at her. Suddenly, I was a little ashamed and felt the need to make sure this stranger knew that I loved the holiday and even though I won’t host, I am willing to help out in any way I can. For some reason, I thought I should rectify myself in front of this person who I have never seen before in my life and who I will probably never see again.

Even though I felt like Scrooge lost in the wrong month, my feelings of regret were short-lived. By the time I paid for my groceries, the exchange was forgotten about. Besides, I stand behind my nearly quarter of a century declaration, DAMMIT!

The other day, my sister-in-law, the same sister-in-law who has been hosting Thanksgiving for the past umpteen years — bless her heart — called and asked me to bring a ham. I swallowed hard, my heart rate doing double-time. I think I even broke out in a little sweat.

A ham? I don’t even know how to buy one, let along cook one.

Twenty-two years into my marriage and I have yet to prepare one of these things. I can slap down a couple of slices on some bread but that’s the extent of my experience with ham.

The problem is, every time I make some kind of meat dish, it winds up resembling more of a piece of shoe leather than something that you want to actually eat (I said I cook for my family, I didn’t say I was good at it).

The day she called me and asked for this thing called a “ham” was the day she put the life of our Thanksgiving dinner in my hands. It’s not my fault. Like I said, it’s not a secret.

I find comfort in knowing that there will be other options on the table. So, the meal will not be lost just because I feel the need to keep meat in the oven longer than necessary to prevent anything like E. coli or Salmonella from happening. After all, my heart is in the right place.

So, go forth my people and enjoy your Thanksgiving Day. May your turkey or ham or tofu be perfectly prepared. As for me, I will not be having the ham. I heard the cook isn’t very good.

Beg My Partum

Women talk about the joys of becoming a new mother. The moment you hold your child for the first time. The tears, the joy, the overwhelming amount of love that oozes from every pore of your body, every part of your being. You see this in movies, on TV shows, in books. Friends, family members, strangers inform you of this joy of joys.

So, when you are nearing the end of your pregnancy and awaiting the arrival of your precious baby, all you can think about is that moment of bonding. When the doctor/nurse takes that bloody and shat on 8 pounds of pure joy that was made with love between you and your hubs/partner/lover and places him/her gingerly upon your bosom. The moment that your 8 pounds of pure joy suckles on said bosom for the first time.

Every time you think of this moment, you are overcome with emotion. Your eyeballs leak gobs of tears. You start to sob from the joy of it. You cannot help yourself. This is a moment you are anxiously, patiently waiting for. The absolute best moment of your life. You are so sure of it.

Then it comes. The moment you have been anxiously, patiently waiting for. You pop that 8 pounds of pure joy out of your vagina. Well, you don’t pop her out exactly. It’s more like a ripping, tearing, pulling and stretching of your vagina to China and back so that the circumference of a small dinner plate with shoulders can get past your lady bits.

The doctor/nurse/whoever (you don’t really care if it’s the homeless man down on Main Street because you are just so glad the worst pain known to man is finally over) hands your bundle of joy over to you. The moment of truth is upon you. The moment you have been waiting months for. You make eye contact. Well, kinda. 30 second old babies really can’t focus, but you, umm, make eye contact and, and, wait for it…nothing.

Because all those movies, TV shows, books, family members and friends?  Not one of them told you that you could possibly suffer from something called Postpartum Depression.

The LaMaze class that you forced your poor husband/life partner/other to attend so that you can learn stuff to help you during your labor and delivery?  Stuff that completely goes out the door because all you can think of is getting this human out of you so that you can have your life back. They didn’t even warn you. Not. One. Word. Ever.

I hold my newborn as if the guy at the market just handed me a bag of potatoes. Actually, I was more excited about the potatoes because they were on sale. I look at my baby. I look at my husband.

He can see the look on my face, the blankness behind my eyes and because he fears that I could possibly drop his baby on the cold, hard, tile floor — the same floor that shares the afterbirth and whatever else that just spewed from my body — he takes her from me. And bonds with her. Okay, so she doesn’t suckle because that would be weird and a total waste of time. But they bond.

And so it goes. What are some other signs? I’ve broken it down for you:

  • The “midnight” feeding that ended poorly for the unsuspecting nurse whose only crime is being on-duty during this crazed new mother’s stay. That and wheeling the new “breast-fed” baby into said crazed mother’s room while she’s TRYINGTOGETSOMESLEEPDAMMIT!
  • The intense panic you feel when your visiting mother goes home after staying with you for a few days. “Please don’t go, mommy. Please please please don’t leave me. I promise I will make up for all the broken curfews, D’s on my report cards and sneaking out at midnight. I promise. What’s that you say? You didn’t know about the sneaking out at midnight part? Oh.”
  • The night you swear that your sweet little angel is going to turn her head on her shoulders because you are pretty sure you gave birth to the devil herself. Or Regan.
  • The times you spend on the phone with your new child’s pediatrician while you soak on a sitz-bath all but licking the wounds of your poor, sore arse that was ripped to smithereens so your baby could have life. Those times you spend crying to him. Begging what in God’s name are you to do with a baby? You have some experience, but you were twelve and was only paid a dollar an hour.
  • The times you don’t want to hold her. After you nurse your baby, you hand her over to your husband, visiting friend or the homeless man down on Main Street (this last one is just a joke…don’t do that.)
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    This. This is the look of the day, err, summer. I wasn’t kidding. I have about 23 more photos just like this to prove it. And that smile? I had to paste it on.

    The same faded, stretched out elastic waist-banded “bike” shorts and breast milk stained t-shirt is your “go to” outfit for three months. Okay, so it’s really your everyday outfit but no one tells you about your fashion faux pas for fear of losing a limb.

I thought I was normal. I did. Didn’t every new mother have maniacal thoughts and act like a complete lunatic?

I make fun of my experience, because I decided long ago that humor is how I would deal with things that aren’t so pleasant. But it really is anything but funny.

Here’s the thing: Postpartum Depression is real. It’s actual. It is not satisfactual. It happens to more women than you think. If you are suffering from this, you are not alone.

The most important thing to remember is that Postpartum Depression is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. So, get on your high-horse or soap box or whatever works for you and scream to anyone who is listening and get the help you need. You will be happy you did. And so will your baby. And your husband. And your mother. And your neighbor. And…get my point?

 

My Wrapped Up Holiday Thoughts

Christmas In October Cartoon

What’s my problem? I mean, when am I going to get it through my thick middle-aged skull that Christmas starts in October? Before Halloween?

Why is it that every single year I blow my shit because I see Christmas decorations in Kohl’s? Or see a guy on a ladder applying lights on the big pine tree on the property of the local jeweler? Or see effing Christmas commercials on TV before Halloween has even happened. Every year. Like I’ve never seen it before. “Holy crap, is that Rudolph?” Surprise, surprise.

Can I at least enjoy the 3 Halloween decorations I put out for a couple of days? I mean, I am definitely not a lover of the holiday called Halloween, that’s no secret. But still. Give me a break.

Everyone is so quick to pull down those decorations though and I’ve always been happy about not having to look at them for all of eternity. Until I figured out why they are so quick to pull them down — to make room for their Christmas crap.

Christmas crap that is left up way too long. We get to drive around town looking at sagging, dead and sunburnt wreaths hanging on doors and windows until April. Deflated Santas and Reindeer lying in yards, even the life sucked out of them.

1ace59493697d4d541a38cadc9a3240fI totally love Christmas. It was a well loved and cherished holiday in my house growing up. My mom would put up those cheesy plastic popcorn figures of Rudolph and Santa.

Dad would meticulously place our million multi-colored blinking lights on the tree. But not before spending an afternoon testing every single one. Making sure they all worked. And if they didn’t? An afternoon often turned into two days because finding the one light that made the strand dead was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Ahhh, those were the days.

But this was done after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving. One of my favorite holidays. Because, hello? Food. And sitting and drinking and relaxing and laughing with family. No stress. No shopping for months only to have all that work over within 32 seconds by eager and selfish children.

So, I’d like to enjoy that holiday too and not feel rushed with Christmas that is so overdone that by the time December 25th is here, it’s all I can do to keep myself from vomiting up jingle bells and reruns of holiday specials.

Where was I? Oh right, Christmas in October. Santa in the mall. In October. When he should be at the North Pole making presents for all the good little boys and girls of the world. When are our children going to smarten up to this process? How many times are they going to buy the whole, “oh, that’s one of Santa’s helpers” bit? Please.

Do you know when this all started? I’m not really sure. But they call it “Christmas Creep.” Because it’s creepy. Like Santa in October.

Now some retail establishments have gotten so greedy they think it’s a brilliant idea to open on Thanksgiving. A day when people should be with friends and family. You know, not shopping and definitely not working. There is plenty of time for that. Shame on you retail establishments. The ones who partake? You kinda suck.

I feel like I’m having a bit of road rage here. Except I’m calling it Holiday Creep Rage or HCR. I think I’ll go pour myself some spiked eggnog. Yes, eggnog. That is also available. But I don’t have a problem with that. Eggnog should seriously be sold all year round. That stuff is good. Especially when added to some rum. Which is what we all need to get through it all. So, ho ho ho. Merry Hallothanksmas.

DRY Should Be a Four-Letter Word

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I have a sad story to tell. I don’t know the statistics, but I’m guessing just about every woman with a vagina will suffer from the ailment of which I am about to speak of.

Last week, I wrote a post about having sex for the first time after baby. If you missed it, you can read it here.

I received a comment from an older woman. Her name is Marcie. She told me about her friend. Her name is Bonnie.

They are both on the other side of menopause. Which means they are dryer than a prune on the equator.

Marcie is lucky. Her hubs doesn’t care much about sex anymore, therefore, Marcie doesn’t have to worry about it. Because, and I quote, “sex after childbirth is nothing compared to what you will face after menopause! It is painful beyond belief! Sex after menopause is like sticking knives AND sandpaper in there.

Thanks Marcie. Glad to know that I have something fun to look forward to. I love the feeling of sandpaper in my vijay jay. Said no woman ever.

Now, her friend Bonnie isn’t so lucky. She happens to be married to a sex machine. Pretty much no amount of KY Jelly will do the trick. There are drugs with dangerous side effects that she has to take so that her man can get his rocks off. And these drugs don’t even work all that great. I just hope she’s able to achieve the big “O” for her troubles.

Why is it that men can go at it like little Jack Rabbits and can procreate until their last breath? I still am amazed at how far Tony Randall went. That little horn dog. May he rest in peace. I just hope he’s not trying to hump my grandmother up there. Oh right, he likes the younger ladies.

What was I saying? Oh yes…sorry about that.

I love men. I really do. This is in no way a man bashing post. I’m just stating the obvious. And, also, I need to say that I’m totally coming back as a man in my next life. Because seriously, if I don’t have to have my ass ripped open by a human head ever again, I wouldn’t be happier.

Anyway, I did a little comparison. Correct me if I’m wrong.

What women have to endure:

  1. Painful periods with mega bleeding out of their down between, cramps, nausea, migraines and mood swings for 7 days or more each month from adolescence until — dear God — too long.
  2. Childbirth. 9+ months of carrying a person on the inside of our bodies like an alien and then enduring hours of having to push this person into the world through a small hole. It doesn’t seem natural. But yet, it is.
  3. Menopause. Why do they call it this? To pause the menses? Then just pause it Mother Effing Nature and move along.
  4. Atrophy of the Vagina or Dried Vagina Syndrome. Sure, maybe that should fall under menopause but I truly and deeply in my heart feel that it needs its very own bullet point. No further explanation needed.
  5. Sagging butt, boobs and mid-life gut (or as the kid likes to refer to it as the “fupa” (pronounced foo-pah — pretty huh?)).

Just so you know, my husband looks better than the day I met him. Why does the gray hair at his temples look sexy when my gray hair just makes me look like an unkempt old maid? I have to pay hundreds of dollars a year to prevent this look from taking over my life. That is not a lie. But I digress.

What men have to endure:

  1. Premature ejaculation. I’ll give it to them that this must suck.
  2. Not able to “perform.” Eh. It happens to the best of us.
  3. The fear of someone kicking them in the gonads. I heard that’s pretty painful. Although I have been elbowed in the breast and it’s not like picking daisies.
  4. Wet dreams. I don’t know, it sounds kind of fun, no?

Okay, so we have 5 and they have 4. But can we compare apples to apples? No, it’s more like comparing apples to watermelon. Or even worse, an apple to the Loch Ness Monster. Does that sound dumb and not make sense? Exactly.

Now I am no man. So, I don’t know what it’s like to be one. But my hubs doesn’t complain about anything unless his stomach hurts, he cuts his finger or has a cold. Therefore, to me that means that there isn’t much to complain about.

Unlike us. See above. Yet, we do these things and we do it with dignity. Because, hello? Girl Power, that’s what.

May I just say before I go that may God never change the rules and decide that men should give birth. Because hello? That’s scarier than the thought of the apocalypse. Don’t you think?

I Am Suffering From a Big A.S.S. Problem

Note: This is not a book review

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I just finished reading a book. It’s not a book that was on my list. It’s not even a book that I ever wanted to read. It’s a book that The Kid has been trying to get me to read for months. She swore it would be the “best book ever.” It’s called “The Fault In Our Stars.”

So I read it. Mostly because she wouldn’t get off my back. Just so you know, she’s just about right. It’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but it was pretty damn good.

Anyway, for those of you who are unaware, this book is about a young girl who is dying of cancer. She is an only child.

I came to a sentence in the book where the dying child overhears her mother say to her father, “I won’t be a mom anymore.” Those 6 little words sucked the air right out of me.

I came across that line while waiting for The Kid to finish her physical therapy session. Physical therapy that she has to do twice a week until she gets the strength back in her left leg. One of only a couple of traces left from her accident.

I picked up my head to watch my only child across the room working diligently so she can go back to doing what she loves the most — irish dancing.

And I thought about that little sentence that held such power. With everything I went through the night of the accident, that never occurred to me. If we weren’t so lucky…I can’t make myself say it, so I won’t.

But we were so lucky. So incredibly lucky. I sit in disbelief some days at how lucky we were. How lucky we are.

I have been struggling with my daughter’s accident. This struggle goes against who I am. I am the type of person who gets over things easily and adjusts to change quickly. I forgive, I forget, I move on. I get over crap. I just do.

I watched in horror as my brother almost drowned when I was four. I moved with my family 12 times in as many years because my father was in the service. I was bullied and threatened when I was a young girl. I experienced the tragic loss of friends. I witnessed my child have a febrile seizure when she was 2 years old.

But this? This is a tough one. The first week was the worst. Of course. Then I seemed to be fine. I was. I was fine. And then I wasn’t…fine. Some friends told me, when it first happened, that I need to watch out for PTSD. And that I may want to see a therapist if I suspect that I am suffering from it.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? That’s ridiculous. Isn’t PTSD only for people who actually experienced something bad? I mean, I wasn’t the one hit by the car. And I didn’t actually see the accident. I wasn’t right there. So I can’t visualize it.

Except I can. I “see” it. All the time. I remember the voice of her friend who called me. The terror on the girls’ faces. I remember how frightened my child was. The blood. The ambulance. ICU. My dead cell phone. The adrenaline. I remember the details. All the little details.

I keep going over and over the “what ifs.” What if she was turned a little to the left, or a little to the right? What if she took bigger steps? Or smaller steps? What if the car hit her in a different place on her body? What if the vehicle was going faster? What if she landed differently?

Then I remember her guardian angels. That she was saved and protected. She had to have been. The car that struck her was doing 40 miles an hour. Forty. Why did she walk away from this accident with just a small head injury and minimal damage to a limb?

Was it for a reason? I believe it was. I’m sure the reason will reveal itself in time. That’s a big question that deserves an even bigger answer.

But for now, I struggle. I can’t forgive the city. I need to forgive the city. Because I love the city. I have always loved the city. And I would like to go there without that fear.

I am angry at Lorde. Even though it’s not her fault. We are the ones who purchased the tickets.  We are the ones who let them walk to meet us. I’m sorry Lorde, for this displaced anger. You are really cool. You are an awesome role model. My daughter adores you. I support her adoration for you. I even like your music.

I can’t forget that feeling of dread I had. That feeling, I fear, will never go away.

The guilt. Why wasn’t I there at that moment? If I was there, I would have stopped her from crossing the street. I would have protected her as I have for the past 16 years.

Some of my thoughts are illogical. I know this. But some of these thoughts seem to be beyond my control.

I saw a therapist last week. Because even though I really don’t think I’m suffering from PTSD, I’m suffering from something. I want to learn how to shut it out, how to deal with it in a more manageable way. To quiet my mind. To move on.

I shared with her all of my fears, my anger, the weird decisions I made, my thought processes, my guilt.

Guess what? It’s normal. All of it is normal. It’s what the professionals call Acute Stress Syndrome or Acute Stress Disorder.

I will get over it. I will stop seeing the accident when I look at my daughter. I will stop hearing her friend’s voice in my head when I close my eyes at night. I will stop worrying that every siren I hear is for her. This feeling of dread will go away. I will enjoy the city again. I will be able to hear a Lorde song without thinking of that night.

Umm, well actually. That last one may not be true. I mean, that was the reason we were in the city in the first place. So, yeah. That may take some time.

September of 2014 is a chapter in my life that will always be there. But I have turned the page and am now in the chapter of healing myself. And since my therapy session, because I was given the tools to move on, I am feeling better. I just take it one step, one day at a time.