The Final Countdown

An incident happened today that kind of made me turn into the girl from “The Exorcist” with my husband and children. Of course I am bringing it to the blog, because that is what I do best.

Funny thing is, there are a few people from my son and husband’s job who read the blog. (Shout-out to the work people! Thank you for reading.) With that being said……and because of the story I am about to share, it is important for me to note, we are fine. Everything is fine. I just had a moment.

I have been out of the work force for the past twelve years. When I was pregnant with Gracie, and we knew she had complications in utero, Joe and I decided together, I would be a stay at home mom. Once Gracie was born, the complications continued. We had weekly therapy appointments for her, along with her regular doctor appointments.

I had found my new niche, and I welcomed it. Our only concern was making sure Gracie was okay. That meant me being a stay at home mom, and doing what I needed to do. Although not always an easy road, we have made it work.

Twelve years later, Gracie is now a 6th grader,making wonderful progress. I feel I am now ready for something more, something for myself, and something that I can be proud of. My long-term goal (and by long-term I mean when Gracie hits highschool) I would like to work in the school district. I volunteer at my youngest daughter’s school daily. I have developed a bond with not only with the teachers, but the students as well. I cannot explain it. Everything about being present in the school is passionate to me. From seeing the same group of kids day in and day out, to popping in on classrooms and watching the teachers teach. The “behind the scenes” of it all.  I love everything about it and take in as much as I can.

A oppurtunity was presented to me that I felt I had to jump on. I was offered to be a parent facilitator. I felt this would be a good stepping stone for me. I would learn a lot….and why would I not do it?

Joe and I talked about it. He changed his days off so he could be home with the kids while I had my training days. He is supportive and will always support anything where the school is concerned. Our children’s school is amazing. We owe them so much and will always help out where we can.

I had my last training today. It was a very long yet productive day. Joe had everything under control. I was not worried.

My day was spent in a classroom for six hours. Trying to get myself prepared to run a meeting. I had “Listening” exercises. I had to talk about racism, I had to “problem solve.” And afterwards, I had to run to the grocery store for some last-minute items.

Joe’s day was spent in our livingroom.

I come home, lug all 8 grocery bags up two flights of stairs by myself. I am exhausted, and doubting my own strengths. I am questioning everything and find myself wondering if I made the right decision. I open my front door and have all my cats greet me, while their food bowl is empty. I throw the bags down for no other reason than loosing feeling in my arms. Joe comes to greet me, “Did you bring home any food?”

Annnnnddddddd that about did it!

“Are you kidding me right now, that is the first thing you are going to say to me. Did I bring home food?!?!?!”

At this point my youngest daughter comes out of her room crying. Apparently she feels her old brother and sister are all “up in her business.” She is 10.

Joe knows he probably should have used a better opener. “Hey, I did not mean anything by that, I just thought you brought home food.”

Because THAT is so much better.

“You see that bag on the floor, the one by your feet, the one the cats are getting into, well, that’s fried chicken. Enjoy!”

Because God has such a good sense of humor it was at this exact moment when my 23-year-old son texted me.

“Mom, any chance you can do my laundry for me?”

Kill me now.

It was also at this exact moment where Gracie comes out of her room.

“Mom, the brush is stuck in my hair. I fell on the brush and now it is stuck.”

I have no clue how she did it, but she did. The freaking brush was stuck in her hair.

Then, I had my breakdown.

“YOU GUYS WOULD BE LOST WITHOUT ME. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT. GOD FORBID SOMETHING WERE TO HAPPEN TO ME, WOULD YOU EVEN KNOW HOW TO GET DINNER….OR DO LAUNDRY……OR BRUSH YOUR HAIR. I NEVER ASK FOR ANYTHING, I HAVE ONE THING, ONE THING THAT IS IMPORTANT TO ME, ONE THING THAT MAY MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND I CANNOT EVEN DO THAT WITHOUT EVERYTHING FALLING A PART?!?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!?! I HAVE SPENT 12 YEARS ADAPTING TO YOUR WORK SCHEDULE…….I HAVE BUILT OUR CREDIT UP ALL BY MYSELF SO WE CAN BUY A DAMN HOUSE……DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT BILLS WE HAVE TO PAY EACH MONTH……AND……SOMEONE NEEDS TO EXPLAIN TO ME EXACTLY HOW ONE FALLS ON A BRUSH WHICH RESULTS IN HAIR BEING TANGLED IN A WAY THAT I NEED SCISSORS TO UNDO. I ASKED FOR ONE DAY,ONE SATURDAY……AND THIS IS WHAT I GET……DO YOU GUYS EVEN KNOW WHERE I WAS?!?!?!?!

Silence.

Yeah, I kinda lost it.

Look, I love my family. We have been through hell and back and have beaten the odds. I have always put them first, even if it meant my own needs were ignored. That’s okay. It was my job, one that I enjoyed. I nurtured the babies, I would take them to the ER when they fell out of windows, or they had projectile vomiting, or when they swallowed a thumb tack. I would stay up all night trying to bring down 103. fevers. I have went through ups and downs. I have felt my best and have felt my worst. I have been supportive of giving money we did not have to give. I have spent years away from my own family, I have done it all for my husband and children. All I ask for is the same in return. As the kids get older and my husband advances in his job, this is my time to shine. I would like to look at it as I was your light for 12 years. I kept those home fires burning….but…….my light is running out. Allow me to be relit…….without burning the house down in the process.

16808557_10158538402320019_1700819018_n-b

Valentines Day: Then and Now

I’m in the middle of Wal-Mart, the day before Valentine’s Day and as I look around, I am surrounded by boyfriends and husbands frantically searching for the perfect card for their wife or girlfriend. In typical “man fashion” they waited until the last minute to buy their loved one a present, only to find that the shelves are picked over and they may have to spend good ol’ V-Day in the doghouse.

I am reminded how Valentine’s Day has progressed for me over the years. I remember putting the “perfect” V-Day gift bag together for my first serious boyfriend. I believe it contained some silky heart boxers, some Calvin Klein cologne and some candy with a card that said “I LOVE YOU MY VALENTINE” written across the front in some cursive romantic font. Inside the card, I wrote a chapter confessing my eternal love and devotion Valentine’s evening consisted of the anticipation of getting dressed up and going on a romantic date that consisted of dinner and most likely, some kind of jewelry.

Two kids later, reality slapped me in my face. As the kids started school, my romantic gift bags turned into baking dozens of cookies and my sappy cards turned into me staying up all night writing V-day cards for each of my kids’ classroom, making sure I didn’t forget a name.

As they have grown older and no longer take treats and cards to school, I am now shopping for the perfect Valentine’s Day presents to fill their gift bags. This year it will consist of new headphones for each, candy, stuffed animal, and some other odds and ends that I just needed to put in, along with a card telling each of them how much I love them. I will bake them some red and pink cupcakes for when they get home from school.

I will most likely, get a cute handmade card from each of them. I am happy to say that I have two Valentines this year, one is 12 and one is 13… and I know someday (NOT SOON) they will be too busy getting ready for their dates on V-Day and I’m sure I will be the farthest thing from their mind.

So, for now I will get their gift bags ready for tomorrow and bake the heart-shaped cupcakes that they love so much, which is so much better than stupid boxers and cheap cologne.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Christin

 

cupcakes

“Referee”

It was a typical Monday morning.

Well, not really. My girls were home from school because they believed I poisoned them with my cooking. Vinnie, my 16-year-old was actually at school, so again, not my typical Monday morning. AJ my 23-year-old, was home, because, well, I have no idea. He was supposed to be at work. So perhaps it was not a “typical” Monday morning, and that should have been my red flag.

The girls are sleeping because of “tummy issues.” I am getting caught up on laundry and Facebook. Vinnie calls me from school. Apparently he fell in some mud and wanted to know if he could come home and change. Of course he can come home and change! Did he seriously think I was going to say “no?”

AJ, is in the bathroom. Everything after this is a blur. It began when Vinnie came home and wanted to go to the bathroom. He realized AJ was in there, they got into some verbal scuffle that I was not able to make out.

Vinnie comes out to the living room “Mom, what is he even doing here? Shouldn’t he be at work?”

Enter AJ. AJ comes out of the bathroom, and sees/hears Vinnie. All hell broke loose. I knew what was about to happen. AJ is coming for Vinnie, Vinnie is not backing down.

Important to note, both of my sons are not only taller than I am, they are bigger. I had no chance.

I tried, I really did “STOP, STOP, STOP! WE ARE NOT GOING TO DO THIS!”

They were not having it. Before I knew it, my two sons were punching each other, rolling around on the floor, had eachother in headlocks….and there was me, in the middle of it all. Trying to referee yet not having much luck.

Vinnie had a chokehold on AJ, AJ somehow had a chokehold on Vinnie and all I could do was say “WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS…..STOP!!!”

It fell on deaf ears.

Then the two idiots jump up at the same time, each taking their place across from each other, like a boxer stance if you will. “C’mon, let’s go!” “I’ll take it outside, bro, come with it!”

I jump in the middle. One hand on AJ’s chest, one hand on Vinnie’s chest. They may be strong, but I am stronger.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TWO DOING, I WANT AN EXPLANATION NOW!”

Again, I am talking to myself.

“Mom, get out the way, get out the way mom, you’re going to get hurt.”

Now, between you and me, I was soooo afraid I was going to get hit. Not intentionally, but something set these two off and there was no bringing them in. I said a silent prayer “Please do not let me get hit, please do not let me get hit.”

I am in the process of training to be a parent facilitator at the girls’ school. Can you imagine if I got hit in all this mess. “Meet your new parent facilitator, Jennifer, she is the one with the black eye. Clearly she can not facilitate her own home.”

And then, enter Gracie and Sofia. All the damn fighting woke them up. Sofia is crying, Gracie is laughing.

Sofia~ “Please do not kill each other!”

Gracie~ “This is the best day ever!”

And then just like that, it stopped. Vinnie went outside to cool off, AJ stood there with sweat dripping down his 6’6 frame, and I went to make sure the girls were okay.

Even now, hours later, I have no idea what set these two off, but it was not pretty. I know it is normal for siblings to fight….but to fight in a drop down dirty kind of way…..WITH YOUR MOTHER IN THE MIDDLE……well, it was not good.

I know my sons. Vinnie takes a long time to get over things. AJ is able to let it go. All I know is this is unacceptable for two brothers, it is unacceptable behaviour for this household…..and more importantly, it is unacceptable behaviour for their sisters to see.

Jennifer

 

 

referee

 

 

 

 

“The House That Built Me”

house

 

I hated the house. It was too big, and needed way too much work for us. Jack and I had only been married  a year when he found it. Thanks to a small inheritance, and us cracking down on the budget, we were able to afford the down-payment. Truth be told, it was affordable. Very affordable which should have been red flag number one. Why was it afforadable, because it needed so much work. The second and third floor, do not even get me started. You needed a hard had just to ascendthe stairs. No one in their right mind would take the project on. Except for Jack.

By our second year of marriage, the second floor was “just about complete.” I was pregnant with my first baby. Isabelle. Nine months in,  I began to worry where Baby Isabelle was going to sleep. Two weeks past my due date, Baby Isabelle was still  without a room. Jack was a saint. He dealt with my crazy mood swings, hours of crying, all because Isabelle did not have a room of her own. Had I known then that she would spend the first six months in a bassinet laying beside Jack and I, maybe I would not have given him such a hard time.

Five years later, Ryan, our son came along. Thankfully the beautiful Victorian that I was so against, had made itself a home. Memories and all. Although the second and third floor were sparse, there was no danger of plywood falling from the ceiling, knocking you out as you made your way up the stairs.

Isabelle was a perfectly happy five-year old little girl in her own princess themed room. Ryan would also have his own, decked out in sports memorabilia. Of course this would not happen until he made the transition from our bedroom to his. In six months.

Our dining room table, which started out as a picnic table, was the meeting place. At the end of our busy days, we would all gather around the table and talk about our respective days. Jack working crazy hours with the hopes of one day making partner at his firm. Isabelle and Ryan, learning to talk. Somehow we went from teaching them “Mommy and Daddy” around that table to questioning them on their plans for Friday night football games, making sure they both understood their curfew times. As they were getting ready to head out for the night, Jack and I would kiss them goodnight, wishing them a safe night, while we both secretly craved the alone time that would immediately follow….once we made our ascend up the stairs.

Our living room. Brightly lit from the hot summer sun, to cooling down in the winter months.  Our seven-foot Christmas tree that I bought in January on clearance had served us well for twenty years.Our dog Rex finding his spot under the glow of the ornaments. Christmas mornings of opening presents would quickly turn into Summers in July, drinking sweet tea on the all to familair sofa….and at the end of it all, we would each make our ascend up the stairs. Whether it was to spend hours on the phone in the comfort of bedrooms, or to finish up last-minute work projects.

There was a time where I felt Jack was spending too much time at the office, and we, his family, were becoming more distant. He would come home, dinner would be in the fridge. There were no more “good nights.” As soon as I heard the keys in the front door, I would make the ascendup the stairs. This time alone.

When I started to do my freelance writing, the tables were turned. On Sunday mornings when Jac wanted to have a nice family breakfast around the dining room table, I would have a deadline to meet. I would come downstairs, kiss Jack “good morning.” grab a cup of coffee while checking in with Isabelle and Ryan, before making my way  back up the stairs, to where my computer awaited.

It was on the stairs when I found about Her. She was a new secretary in the firm. I had a feeling there was something going on.  Jack confirmed it. I was making my way up the stairs, crying, when he grabbed my arm and admitted to infidelity. That was a rough  for us.  I wanted to leave. I also wanted to fight. I wanted to fight with Jack and make him pay for what I was feeling, but I also wanted to fight for my marriage. I knew we were better. In the end, I wanted to fight more than I wanted to leave, and that is exactly what we did. We fought for our marriage. That night, when I made my way up the stairs, I knew, we would not have an easy road, but we would get past this.

When Capri came along, she was our proof that we would be okay. Although we had to constantly work and put each other first, we knew that nothing could tear us apart. We had a family, we had our memories, we had it all in this house.

Even when hospice came in. We had it all.

Jack was no longer able to use the stairs. We set up the hospital bed in our living room. The same one where our Christmas tree stood in the previous years. The same living room were we would drink our sweet tea, and say our good nights, before heading off to bed….and I knew. I knew the moment it happened.

Jack was cold, he was in pain. I made a quick dash up the stairs while Isabelle, Ryan and Capri remained at his bedside…..and I knew, that would be the last time I used those stairs.

Jennifer

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She drove all night and through the next day. She needed, wanted to get away but no matter how hard she pressed on the gas, it just wasn’t fast enough. Hundreds of miles, umpteen cups of coffee and a repetition of her “Fleetwood Mac” Cd is what kept her going. With nothing to lose or nobody depending on her, she was free for the first time in 2 decades. Free to be whom and what she wanted to be.

But first she needed to see him. At a gas station outside of Memphis, she googled his address. 891 Birchwood Lane. Wonder what he looked like now? Nearing the state line, she knew this could go one of two ways. Preparing for both, there was an unsteadiness in her hands. A tremble. The what-ifs and should have been’s flashed before her eyes.

200 miles left until she hit Birmingham. Drowning out the thoughts, she turned up the music. Wind in her hair, a determination in her eyes. She rehearsed what she would say when he opened the door. Would it be enough? Would it be too late? Did she do the right thing? She had no choice that day in May almost 20 years ago. A brutal attack had led to the hardest decision of her life. Why me? WHY? She felt the tears stinging her face. Tears that were too late. Too late. Was she too late? The thought made her push on the gas even harder, as the blue mustang roared beneath her.

30 Miles Birmingham. Almost there. That day replayed over and over again. If only she hadn’t gone to that bar alone. If only she had stayed home. If only she was stronger. If only…

And there it was. A big, beautiful, green Victorian house. 891 Birchwood Lane. She glanced at the reflection in the mirror, blue eyes staring back at her. This was it. Slowly making her way up to the house, she ironed out her sweater with her hands. A few deep breaths and a quick silent prayer, and a quick push on the doorbell. Nothing. Another quick press on the doorbell. Her heart was beating so fast, her hands sweaty and trembling. What if nobody was home? All these miles for nothing…and then she heard footsteps. Slowly the door opened. Familiar eyes looked back at her. Her nose, her lips. Hers. He was hers. “Chase?” “Um, yeah, that’s me” His eyes searched hers intently, trying to figure out who she was. “Hi, I’m Sara”…her voice quivered unexpectedly. “I’m your—mom”

Christin

 

 

The Rose

I was chatting with a friend last night. During the course of our conversation, unbeknownst to him, he gave Christin and I a pretty cool idea for the blog. The premise is, you find a picture and write about it. So…..that is exactly what Christin and I are doing, except, we will be writing about the same picture. Doing so will give you guys an insight to how different Christin and I can be…..and may make you question our sanity.

Please feel free to join in and write your own story about the picture below.

16558656_10158468361395019_2046889856_n

Jennifer’s Story

It was finally time.
I was nervous. Yeah, I’m a guy and we are not suppose to get nervous, but I was. What can I say? The last six months I put my all into this girl. She had me. There was something about her that told me “she is the one.”

We met on Tinder. Not for some sort of “hook-up” or anything, that’s not my style. If I wanted that, I could go to the local bar. Anyone could. I wanted something more, and though she did not know it at the time, so did she.

Our respective jobs and school kept us from meeting. It was better that way. Neither one of us wanted to say it, but that’s how we felt. No pressure. We would text each other during the days and spend hours on the phone at night. I feel that was important. Had we immediately met in person, it would have been too soon, yeah, this was better. When I was not talking to her, I wished I was. I wanted to know everything about her.

She was easy to open up to. I told her things about me that I had never told anyone else. Trusting her came easy. It’s nice when it is easy. It should never be hard. When it becomes hard it is time to walk away.

Now here we are. Enough time had passed. I feel we are both in the same place, we are ready. It hurts to not have her in my arms. I crave that. How can one crave something they never had? Of course there were others. The difference is I always wanted them to leave, there was never a connection, but not this one.

She told me she was going to bring me a rose. That’s how I would know it’s her. I did not  get it, I mean I had seen pictures of her before, it’s not like I did not know what she looks like, but I went with it. Aside from her long chocolate-brown hair, and  gorgeous blue eyes, I would look for the rose.

There she is. I saw her before she saw me. It looked like she was on her phone. Most likely texting her sister. The closer I got to her, the more excited I became. It was time, it was finally time. The excitement of it all. The newness. The meeting, the first time I can shake her hand, or give her a hug. Yeah, a hug. I mean who shakes hands anymore?

This would be it. She is the one.

Just looking at her, puts a smile on my face.

She does not know. She has no idea that today, today will be the last day she is alive.

Christin’s Story

I was at a fork in the road and as I held this rose in my hand, I contemplated each path. Do I go down the comfortable, familiar, paved, straight path or do I dare take the unknown, exciting, windy, rocky path that leads to an unknown destination?

I had always done as I was told ever since I was a kid. My parents forced me into piano lessons, ballet, etiquette classes by the age of 12. By 15 they had picked out my college and planned my whole future without even asking me what I wanted. I went to the college of their dreams and met a man there that “had a bright future and could provide a great life.” Those were my dad’s words. My mom supported the idea of this “fairytale” relationship too. I’m not going lie, I bought into it.

He was charismatic, funny, life-of-the-party guy that just happened to be from a prominent family, just like mine. We spent our college days together, planning our future, our wedding, even our kids’ names were pick out. It’s funny how even back then I knew something wasn’t right but I buried it and just went along for anything he said.

After graduation, we (our parents) bought us our dream home. We moved in and almost immediately he started working for the law firm. We fell into a comfortable, predictable routine year after year. Until, that warm spring day. I was at the supermarket picking up some items I needed to make his favorite meal when out of the corner of my eye a young man about my age caught my eye. He was about 6’3”, dark hair, blue eyes. I couldn’t stop staring. I noticed some tattoos on his well- sculpted arms. For just a moment, our eyes met. I felt something, something I had never felt before. He smiled and I smiled back, embarrassed that he caught me checking him out in the produce aisle. I grabbed my parsley and carrots quickly and begin walking away.

He was following me, I could feel his eyes burning into my back. I made my way up to the register, not wanting to turn around. After checking out, I could still feel like I was being followed. I quickly opened the car door and began putting my groceries in, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and there he was.

“Hey don’t you remember me?”

“Umm, no I’m sorry, I don’t think I do”

“It’s me Sam, from high school”

“Oh my goodness! I didn’t even recognize you, Sam”

Sam and I had dated for a short time in high school. My parents weren’t the wiser and I was fine with that. Sam didn’t come from the “right side of the tracks”. I didn’t care. We had fun for a short few months our senior year and that was that. I reached in for a hug and it was reciprocated. Maybe a little too reciprocated. It was as if time had never passed with us. Conversation was easy and the chemistry, the chemistry between us was beyond anything I had with my husband.

After an hour of catching up in the parking lot of the supermarket, we decided it was time to part ways. He ran over to the edge of the parking lot and returned with one red rose. As he placed it my hands, he looked down at me and said

“Meet me at Jacksons Bar and Grill tomorrow at 8pm”.

Before I could stop myself, I replied ”Ok”. Within a moment, he was walking away and there I was standing there with a rose, thinking about which path I needed to take.