Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Real-life Parenting

My daughter told her teacher this yesterday: Carmel is a bitch.

So yes, she really meant "karma" and said it wrong but I'm sure the teacher got the gist. I only know this happened because she very proudly told me about it.

This is my fault of course. Playing a recent game of Sorry with her, she knocked my guy out and the next turn I got a Sorry card and knocked hers out. I started humming a happy song and did a victory dance while saying: Karma is a bitch! Let's face it, Sorry is my favorite game and I mean business with that game...

I'm not going to lie to my child. I'm not going to hide things from her. I'm all about real-life. Lyla knows what adult words are and how only adults can say adult words and kids say kid words. She knows shit, bitch, mother fucker, fuck, dammit, and of course asshole which we lovingly call a-hole. Sure, call me a bad mom but I just can't help myself and I swear constantly! The point is that I may have taught her all these bad words accidentally but I've also taught her there is a time and a place for them when she's an adult. She'll even tell me; Mommy, I can't say shit cause it's an adult word, right?

I've also taught her that "stupid" and "hate" are off limits. I dislike those words and she'll be the first to call someone out if they say one of those words to offer them an alternative word. She may have slipped up yesterday at school with her cursing, but she does know she shouldn't be using them.

I was listening to my favorite radio show, Elvis Duran and the Morning Show. This woman called up because her son's goldfish died overnight and everyone was offering her ideas as to how to hide it. To me, lying to your children to protect them just makes things worse. Don't sugar coat life. Life is amazing and wonderful but sometimes super shitty and sad. How can children understand life if we hide the shitty and sad stuff?

I am always honest and real with my daughter. She asks me to take her to Disney World and I tell her that we can't afford it. I am honest and say that Disney is expensive but some day if we save money, we can go.

When our dear friend Rose passed away, I had to tell Lyla the truth. She really loved her "auntie" Rose and I needed to be honest with her, even if she's only four. I took her to the coffee shop after school and got her a hot cocoa and treat. Then we talked.

Me: Lyla, I need to tell you something.
Lyla: What's up mom?
Me: Remember how I told you that Auntie Rose was not feeling well and I visited her in the hospital? Well she took the picture you colored and hung it up on her wall. She really loved it and appreciated it. I just wanted to tell you that Auntie Rose is not sick anymore. She didn't make it and is up in heaven right now.
Lyla: Auntie Rose died? I'm so sad!
Me: Yes, she did pass away. I'm very sad too. But she really loved you and don't ever forget her, okay?
Lyla: She died just like great grampa. I'm going to miss her.
Me: I'm going to miss her too.
Lyla: This is really good hot cocoa.

She may have changed the subject fast but she did truly understand. In fact, since then, she's been telling me that it's sad we'll never see Auntie Rose or great grampa again. I'm so proud of her to be honest. What would I have been teaching her if I lied?

So my point is maybe we should all get kids used to real-life from the get-go. Let's not lie to them and hide things from them. I think my daughter will be stronger in the long run.

Real-life is not always sunny but it's the cloudy days that makes us stronger.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Saying Goodbye to a Friend

Today, I lost a very good friend. She was only 67 years old - young as far as I'm concerned. She had been battling a fatal lung disease for a while and finally her body could no longer handle it. She is no longer in pain. She is no longer unable to breathe. She is free.

Her name was Rose-Marie; or just Rose to those of us she was close to. Some may wonder how a 67 year old woman came to be my dear friend. Here is our story.

Rose with Lyla at her Christening.
Back in 2002 I was in college and totally sick of it. I needed a change. I applied for a CO-OP work experience at my school. After my first interview, I was placed at NICABM. It was my first official job doing event-type planning and I was so excited! It was an hour ride to and from each day which was a downer but the people I worked with made up for that. There was Ayo the sweet IT guy from Nigeria who was always willing to chat and make me feel better. Vin was the fun guy who actually convinced me to get almost wasted for my first business trip flight and was my accomplice for the one and only time I was ever paged by an airline to get on the plane! There was Toni who was a very kind woman who loved to tell us about her daughter. And then there was Rose.

She was something else! She worked in the office and was the first face we saw when we entered. The best thing about Rose was she told you like it was. If she was pissed off, you knew. If she was having a good day, we all were. She was blunt, fun, loved to curse, and such a character. I immediately bonded with her. It wasn't long before we all started hanging out during after work hours for a drink or dinner. My CO-OP was only for one semester so after I was done, I definitely missed the crew. After I left, Jared (the husband) and Eliza, another good friend of mine started to work there and eventually they joined our group of friends too. A few months later when I called the office to chat with Rose, Jared answered the phone and voila, the beginning of our courtship began. Mostly because of Rose. She encouraged us and I officially consider her our match maker.

I always kept in touch with Rose after that. She was one of my phone calls when we got engaged. She celebrated our wedding with us. She was one of the first people I told I was pregnant with Lyla and Brighton. She was also the one I went to when I needed to cry about my miscarriage. I remember sitting on her couch and she just hugged me and I sobbed in her arms. That wasn't something I could do with my family. I felt too bad to do that with them but Rose, she was easy to talk to and cry to. She didn't even have to say a thing; she just let me talk and cry. I always left her house feeling better.

Over the years life got in the way so I didn't see Rose as much but we always kept in touch and made a point to hang out as much as we could. We'd meet for lunch, stroll around the Christmas Tree Shop, or go to the diner next to her house. She cared so much for me and my family and told me every time we chatted that we were all in her prayers.

When Lyla was born, she just adored her. She became Auntie Rose and Lyla loved to visit her. Rose never forgot a birthday or Christmas and always had nice things for Lyla. She made her ABC letters to hang on her wall and we still have them up today.

This past summer, we met Rose for breakfast and I knew instantly something was wrong. She was coughing a lot and could barely breathe at all. After a few doctor visits, they finally diagnosed her with an awful lung disease they couldn't cure. She went on oxygen and after that rarely left her house. I got her another doctor to visit for a second opinion and I took her to another doctor for third opinion - but it was no use. I stopped at her house whenever I could to get her something she needed. I called more and visited more. All of a sudden the phone rang and she was in the hospital. She told me she was in the end stages and there was nothing left to do. That was just over a week ago. I ran up to the hospital with Jared that night and in the ICU she was breathing and talking the best she had been in ages. Rose was very morbid talking about her plans. She said she was ready and had all her affairs in order. I didn't believe it, couldn't. I just figured she was getting down. I truly believed she'd get better and go home.

I didn't know where she'd be so I didn't call her right away after seeing her. I called her house and left a message last week and then her friend called me back with the news. She said Rose had had a rough weekend and most likely wouldn't last another week let alone a few days. I was in shock even though deep down I knew. The next day, I made the long one hour trip to the hospital again after dropping the kids off with my mom. I went there knowing it may very well be the last time I see her and tried to prepare myself for saying goodbye.

I sat down next to her but she had just gotten a large dose of morphine and it was making her sleepy. She kept apologizing. Before I was there too long I needed to tell her something.

I told her that I loved her and she was like family to me. I told her my children adore her. I told her if it hadn't been for her, I wouldn't have married Jared and had my two amazing children. I told her that one of the reason's she was on this earth was so that I could meet and marry Jared and have my family. I thanked her for that and told her how grateful I am to have had her in my life. I also told her that I loved her so much but I really hated her lungs for doing this to her.

She squeezed my hand through it all and said she loved me too. She smiled and I felt as if a sense of calm washed over her. She fell asleep for a bit and then I just started to talk as if we were just having a conversation on the phone as per usual. I told her about Lyla's desire to take violin lessons and how well she's doing with it. I told her how Brighton was sleeping better and his Christening was coming up. I told her how I was back to work and it sucked.

Then I helped her sit up and have dinner. She then asked for ice cream and made them get me one too. I held up the little ice cream cup and did "cheers!" with it with her. I said it was our version of a cocktail and I kissed her and told her that I loved her again.

After just over an hour of holding her hand and talking, she was even more sleepy and I had to get back to the kids. I stood up and said I needed to go but I'd see her again this weekend. I just couldn't say goodbye right there and then. I kept telling her I would see her but to do what she needed to do. I didn't want her to hang on to see me again. I wanted her to not be in pain anymore.

I told her I'd see her but I didn't. I'm glad I didn't say goodbye to her when I saw her and I'm glad we left each other as we did. She was awake and alert enough to have had a good visit with me. But I'm going to miss her.

I feel grateful I knew it was time and could see her that one last time. But I couldn't say goodbye. I don't know if it's harder to say goodbye because you know or you don't know and you can't say goodbye. Either way, death is inevitable for us all but just that fact alone doesn't make it any easier.

Rose, you were loved by all who knew you and we will all miss you. Rest in peace, Auntie Rose.

Brighton's Baptism

Our beautiful boy got Christened today. Just love his smile.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

And I'm Back...

Remember how excited pissed I was to go back to work? Well, I didn't win the lottery or get a Kickstarter campaign going. I didn't become independently wealthy or sell everything and move in with my parents (but I'm still considering it!).

So instead, I bit the bullet and started work again yesterday. Want to know how that went? Here is my fun story about returning to work after leave:

Sunday night:
I slept for 2 minutes, tops. Lyla had a 103 fever and was up most of the night. Brighton decided he wanted to eat every three hours. Luckily the kids took shifts so I never had to abandon one of them! Well planned children!

Monday morning:
Rolled out of Lyla's bed around 5:30 to find her with an even worse fever and had no children's meds left. Got dressed in a sleepy haze and told Jared to listen for them both as I went out in 7 degree weather to get more. CVS - closed (mother fuckers). Rite Aid - closed (bitches). What is the point of having two pharmacies a 7 minute drive away if they are both closed before 7am. WTF people.

Went all the way (okay, like 5 more minutes) to grocery store to get medicine. Came back home and parked car in cul-de-sac because didn't want to do musical chairs with cars later on. Literally jump out of car and guess what? Black ice! My feet didn't even hit the ground and I fell flat on my side half under the car. If it hadn't hurt so bad, it would have been comical. You see, I recently had a car upgrade to a bigger SUV (long story), so my "jump" out was what I usually did from my old SUV. I should have used the runner board but alas I'm only five feet tall and completely wiped out. I then limped all the way up my ridiculously long driveway in tears. Awesome.

Well work started in the AM but I'm pretty sure I didn't literally start until around 1pm. By the time I got Lyla sorted, Brighton fed and sorted, showered, dressed, etc it was lunch. Had to feed the sick kid and my starving, breastfeeding self and then it was time to try work again. Luckily I only had to do some sorting of emails and the slow day was just what I needed.

The whole day was pretty much shot but I did log on and do a few things!

On the plus side, I've mastered breastfeeding at my desk.

On the other plus side, at least I didn't have to drop of Brighton at a daycare and he could be home with me.

On the other, other plus side, Jared is home as well to help out.

Work is so over-rated but I can't complain (even though I do!)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Questions I Find Myself Asking with the End of Maternity Leave Approaching

Come Monday, I'm back to work (wahh...)

Here are some of the questions I've legitimately asked myself in the last few weeks.

  1. Is it acceptable to start a GoFundMe or Kickstarter campaign so I could be a stay at home mom? Would anyone actually fund me? 
  2. How early is it to start drinking wine during the day on a work day? And furthermore, how bad is drinking wine all day on a work day while breastfeeding?
  3. How much work will I be able to get done with a 2 month old strapped to my boob eating constantly and is it politically incorrect to do a Google hangout with said 2 month strapped to my boob eating?
  4. Is it okay to not shower and stay in my pajamas all day while I'm working full time, taking care of an infant full time, and picking up/dropping off a preschooler at school?
  5. Will four hours of sleep at night be enough rest so I can keep my eyes open and my brain active while I work full time, take care of an infant full time, and pick up/drop off my preschooler at school?
  6. What are my odds for winning a lottery jackpot so I can be independently wealthy?
  7. How important is it for me to have my own home? Can I survive selling everything and moving my 2 kids and husband in with my parents so I don't have to worry about a mortgage payment and can quit my job and be a stay at home mom?
  8. Is it silly to sell everything I own, quit my job, buy and RV and travel the USA with my husband and 2 kids in tow?
  9. Is it preposterous to sell everything I own, quit my job, and buy one way plane tickets with my 2 kids and husband to Fiji and live there so I can be a stay at home mom?
  10. Can I survive with my 2 kids and husband in a shack and live with less so I can quit my job and be a stay at home mom?
  11. Is it feasible to finish my book in the next 4 days, send it to a publisher, and get a big pay day so I don't have to go to work on Monday?
And finally... the number one question I've been asking... (pardon my french, but I'm mad):

Why the fuck is America so fucking stupid with the fucking policies about fucking maternity leave for working moms and give us so little fucking time off? What the fuck!
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