Saturday, May 02, 2015

Yes... I am a stay at home mom, and I STILL matter

Today I had someone ask me if Jacob is going to be in kindergarten next year, and after I said yes she asked with a hint malice," Well, what are you going to do with yourself then?"

You see, I am a stay at home mom. Not because I believe I am better than anyone else, or find that though we have sacrificed greatly for me to stay at home with our babies that my sacrifices are greater than those of anyone else. I simply did what I thought was best for MY kids.

So many things ran through my mind in a matter of seconds. I want to snap back that I would probably CONTINUE to do the thousands of things I do every day, you know like laundry, cooking and general cleaning up for 4 other people. I would continue with the tedium of clipping coupons to scrimp since we are on one income, shopping for the best deals and sales to stretch our income, agonizing over bills and sticking to a budget to buy those groceries, spend bits and pieces of time with my kids, fretting over my jewelry business and struggling to make time for it... day dreaming about creating something with my hands like painting or drawing.

On top of all of those things struggling to get out of bed in the morning because of unbreakable cycle of insomnia... which makes my debilitating fibromyalgia pain and chronic fatigue syndrome much worse. Developing a new heart problem which contributes to the fatigue. Grappling with system crippling allergies that keep me locked inside on the most beautiful of days, and knowing that because of all of these illnesses that I can no longer work and contribute to supporting my family causing depression and anxiety. Knowing that if a dear friend of mine with most of the same illness as me (only worse) is having a hard time getting disability so my chances are very slim... hating that I once was a nurse but can no longer do the job I loved even if I really wanted to and that this was NOT how I planned the last half of my life going...

In mere moments I was knocked down and belittled, angry and confused as to why this person that I haven't seen in almost 6 months would want to verbally snipe me... if only she knew, CARED to retain or bothered to read my status updates, (though I guess honestly despite all this I try not complain on Facebook much because who wants to read that?).

I have been working in some capacity since I was 10 (family business, paper routes, ice cream stands, groceries stores all before I was 18), I have paid my dues as a productive member of society until 14 years ago when I became a stay at home mom. I don't deserve the implications that I sit on my ass all day eating fritos and watching soap operas.

I wanted to respond in kind, I wanted to hurt her back but as unhappy as I felt at that moment and have been feeling for over a year I realized she was probably so much more unhappy than me for wanting to make me feel less than for staying home with my kids at first by choice... and then later out of necessity for health reasons.

I did not glean an ounce of joy from realizing that she was more than likely jealous of the lifestyle she THOUGHT I was living. It didn't make me feel superior that she was most likely very unhappy.

I don't need to match someone else's guidelines or validate my choices... and I certainly do not matter less because I do not or can not hold a job outside of the home. Despite all my unhappiness and longings I still would have left a very lucrative job as a licensed practical nurse in California  14 years ago to move back to John's hometown in Iowa to stay at home to raise Anna myself. I matter, I have and will continue to make a difference if only for my family.

In those moments that probably only took up 30 seconds I replied with a slight smile, in a soft voice, "Yeah, who knows." I let it go.

Long story short  (TL;DR) , not every circumstance is an opportunity to level the playing field. Sometimes we need to show a little kindness and walk in someone else's shoes. And sometimes the kindest thing we can do is keep our mouths shut. I really wish for a time when women lift and support one another instead of "sweeping the legs" out from under them Karate Kid style, for very personal choices and very valid reasons that are diminished to presumptions. I hope we can be kinder to each other as humans as a whole because we really never know what is going on behind closed doors and closed hearts.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I guess we should get Rosetta Stone

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Anna who made up her own language. She often spoke syllables smashed together, and they sometimes resembled actual words in different languages. One of her favorites was the word "puta". Her mommy told her that that was a bad word in Spanish and that she should find a new favorite word.
There once was a little girl named Emma who made up her own special language. She liked to come up with words for body parts ( puhtutu= butt), and came up with new names for verbs. Her favorite word was also "puta", which her parents thought was hilarious considering it was also her sister's favorite made up word... but explained she should stop saying it because it was a bad word in Spanish.
There is a little boy named Jacob who sometimes makes up his own special language. His mommy told him to eat his dinner, and he whined and complained he that doesn't like grilled hot dogs. His dad told him to stop messing around and eat his hot dogs or he wasn't going to get dessert. Jacob then said "puto"... and his mommy and big sister nearly died laughing.

I wrote a blog post about Anna almost 6 years ago to the day. SMH It has to be genetic, people... it has to be.

Monday, June 03, 2013

24 Years Ago

Sometimes it feels like 100 years ago, and sometimes it feels like just yesterday that I married my soul mate and love of my life.

Our 25+ years together has been bumpy, rocky and sometimes seemingly impassable, but here we are one year shy of our silver anniversary.  I can only attribute that to the both of us growing into stronger and more forgiving people, and having faith.

Twenty-five years ago my mother told me we would never last. She blamed John for almost killing me after I was very near death from a tubal pregnancy. She sat my then fiance' down and told him I was damaged goods and he deserved better because I had been sexually abused- right in front of me like I wasn't even there, meanwhile John sat calmly and let her finish, then told her plainly that I had told him EVERYTHING about my childhood. Her sabotage didn't work, thank God, because I had been completely honest with him in our first week of dating.

She made me change my wedding date 4 different times because she had plans, unwilling to change her plans for my wedding. She took control of my wedding planning and told John he could only invite 15 people out of 250 invites because she was going to pay for the reception as a gift. She eventually threw me a wedding shower but then kept all the gifts that I had stored at their house while I was in the Navy, all because John argued that 15 people were not enough from his side. She cancelled the wedding reception, kept my shower gifts AND told me she had prayed and God told her she (and the rest of my family)  wasn't allowed to go to the wedding... then lied to my brothers that because I was mad I had uninvited all of them.

My mother's pastor grudgingly held our wedding ceremony in a dirty church with small pieces of lint and paper scraps in the aisle, after my mother - I am sure- told him how I had been disrespectful to her. He didn't look at me a single time during the wedding ceremony, which was certainly rushed and maybe lasted 10-15 minutes. He glanced at John a few times but only looked over my head.

None of my immediate family came to our wedding, but my mother's sister and her family came, including my aunt's in-laws who let us call them "granny" and "gramps" as kids. My art teacher from high school came, I was and still am so very touched she would do that for me. We had navy friends there, and John had quite a few family members that flew and drove from Iowa and Virginia. I had my great grandmother and some high school friends who showed up for me as well.

We had about maybe 40 people show up to our wedding, but some of the guests did not go to the reception. All in all, we spent 1000.00 for our wedding, my off the rack wedding dress costing just under half of that. The rest was spent on flowers, a 2 tier wedding cake and flowers we ordered from a grocery store, and John and his brother's tuxedo rentals. Luckily a family friend and mom of one of my high school classmates had heard about how my mother had treated us and she graciously approached John and I about having our reception at her house near her pool, and she and another family friend bought and cooked the food for us for a measly 100.00. What a blessing that was!

When it came time for the wedding to begin, I almost had a nervous breakdown because John decided that arriving 5 minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start was completely appropriate! I figured after all the craziness he has experienced from my family during our 11 month engagement, he had probably gotten cold feet.

I still missed having my family there, but was very thankful for the family that did show up; my aunt and her family, and my art teacher- who secretly I had always wished had been my cool and quirky mom. I was very blessed to have had a father-in-law who had been sweet enough to ask me if he could walk me down the aisle, even though we hadn't met yet.

The first 25 years of our relationship- just like our wedding day- has been bitter sweet, but mostly sweet. I willingly give my husband most of the credit, though. He knows how genuinely messed up I am and loves me despite all of it. He knows me like no other, he knows all of my dark secrets. Every. Single. One. And I am almost positive that I know all of his. We are both damaged from our childhoods. Sometimes we can be rough around the edges but we manage to love each other through it, because we see value in all that we have conquered in the past.

What makes our relationship continue to grow despite rough patches? I think it's because our valleys have been so low at times that it makes the high points that much higher. It's the bitter in the bittersweet that makes it all that much richer and sweeter.

My younger brother told me a few years ago that considering I was the black sheep of the family, he had always thought that I would be the one married 3 times with all sorts of kids. We both had a good laugh out of that since he and my older brother have both been married 3 times each, and here I am chugging along in my imperfect but lengthy marriage.

From meager and troubled beginnings we came... A 19 year old bride and a 21 year old groom.We were talking last night in bed, just an hour into our official 24th anniversary. Looking back, we would have still kept our wedding small if it meant we would do it our way, on our terms.

OR used that 1000.00 to get married in Vegas. *wink*

To my husband, The Male Income Support Unit:

I love you, John. Thank you for loving me when I was unlovable, forgiving me when I was unforgivable, and for understanding my crazy from it's deepest roots. Thank you for giving me 3 adorable kids and 25 years.

The first 25 years have been a doozy... I can't wait to see where we go from here! All I can say is it better not involve me getting pregnant again.



Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's been a year

One year ago today I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and it's been one roller coaster of a year for sure. It's been a long, dark and scary back alley of a year in some respects; an alley that I thought I was destined to walk alone, desperately looking over my shoulder as I scrambled to find an exit or some safe haven from the horrible unknown that skittered in the dark closely behind me.

Then around a week later my best friend in the whole world was diagnosed, and in the most odd/bizarre/tragic/morbid/comical way... suddenly I was not alone. We traveled  together, huddled in the dark while taking turns shining a flashlight for each other; shedding light on pitfalls and outright stumbling blocks in our path.

We have laughed and cried together out of grief and terror, we have fallen silent and morose. We have joked about the possibilities of the illness, and have related to each other in ways that even our loved ones fail to comprehend. Monique and I both have a better understanding of what we are dealing with, and we have shared a wealth of knowledge with each other.

In these ways, my life has somehow become richer. Through common ground and despair, we have connected on a level I never thought was possible. We had discovered mere months before being diagnosed that we were best friends, already a friendship deeper than ANY friendship I have ever had outside of my marriage. So deep in fact that she asked that I be the godmother to her unborn daughter. :) We have so many similarities, so many odd things in common that it's mind boggling... then to have this happen?

The most mind blowing thing from all of this is that we have not met in person yet. In just 14 days I get to meet my other soul mate, my sister from another mister... my life doppelganger.

I am so thankful and utterly grateful to have her in my life. We have gotten each other through so many rough spots in the last 12 months, and have created a relationship bound (and gagged) in love and laughter since July 2011.

Simply put, I could not have gotten through this last year without her*.

I cannot wait to see where this road goes next, Monique "Bella Boo"!
I'm positive. *wink*

*Of course it goes without saying that I could not have gotten through this year without my loving and supportive husband, who is the yin to my yang. Love you MISU!