The End?

“She was washing dishes. A much-needed distraction. Of course, she did not feel like washing dishes. She wanted to sleep or talk on the phone to her BFF. She was just so tired but knew she had to make an effort.

There was another argument. Probably the norm these days. Again she heard He “was done.” Second verse same as the first “I am done.” Holding back tears with her trembling hands in the soapy water, she did not want him to see her cry. Even though there is most definitely strength in tears, now was not the time. Silently asking herself, “How many times do I have to hear “I am done” before it breaks me?” She did not know how to answer her own question. She has the fight in her. She was born a fighter because she comes from strength. It’s just sometimes the fight is hard. She is feeling defeated, and insecure. Those three little words “I am done” hurts her more than being punched in the face from her past relationships. It hurts her to her core. For a moment, she thinks about cutting herself. Something she used to use as a coping mechanism decades ago. Box cutter, or razor blade, she knows how to do it. Cutting was Her way of making her feel anything than the here and now. She does not do it, she knows she has to remain strong and continues to mindlessly wash the dishes.

He comes into the kitchen. Either to get something to eat or to put a dish in the sink. She is unsure. Her thoughts are everywhere. All She wants is a sign. A small sign. Anything. A hug, a brush against the arm. She wants to hear something she can cling on to. Maybe an “I am sorry.” Or “We will get through this” or even no words, maybe nothing needs to be said, but a small minuscule touch would mean something.

There was nothing. There no hug, no kiss on the cheek. There were no words.

She wishes for more. A small sign, something.

But, if she were to be honest with herself, she knows it is not looking good.

She will keep fighting though. But, everyday that passes, she realizes she is closer to facing the cold heart truth.”

 

 

Little Wonders.

I remember when my kids were babies. On the rare occassion, they would sleep through the night, I would watch them all cute and snuggled in their swaddled blanket and tell myself “I wish they could stay this age forever.”

As we all know life does not work that way and before I knew it, I was walking a nervous five-year-old into their first day of kindergarten. It was always harder on me than my kid. Once I got comfortable with the elementary years, I would again tell myself “I wish they could stay this age forever.” There is just something special about seeing their artwork, or chorus concerts. The student-led conferences that my kids dreaded but I enjoyed. Mainly because the teacher would really talk up my kids. Well, okay there was a time or two where my boys had less than stellar conferences, but you know what I mean.

Gracie, who is now getting ready for her first year in high school told me the other day “I had my first crush in kindergarten.” Well, she starts early! (Takes after her aunt.)

I believe Sofia’s first crush was on one of her teachers. She never told me that, but I know my kid. Sofia is now getting ready to begin her 7th-grade year in middle school.

Where does the time go?

My oldest son. There are so many things I should have done differently with him. You know we always screw up the first one. He is a good person, at his heart and soul, he is good. He has been struggling through.

My youngest son, he is a badass. He has it together. Working and going to college. I realized what I did wrong with my oldest and made sure not to do it with my next. Trust me, in some capacity, you will one day read about him in a place other than this blog. He is going places.

My girls. I try so hard with them. I want to do everything I possibly can to protect them while giving them independence. I want to set them up for success. I think for the most part I am doing okay.

In the blink of an eye, I said good-bye to diapers and pacifiers. I said good-bye to sippy cups and Disney channel. I said good-bye to cute pink hair bows and Dora the Explorer t-shirts.

As soon as I said good-bye, I was quickly welcomed with crushes and makeup. We went from “Highschool Musical” to Nightcore videos, and at the writing of this post, I am still not exactly sure what Nightcore is, other than Sofia really enjoys listening to it.

I have been following a few new “Mommy Bloggers.” I kind of want to laugh. As they post about their child causing some sort of disturbance in museums and grocery stores, I am thinking to myself “Oh, you have no idea!” As I am entering this new chapter of teenagers and grown adult children, I can safely say I have paid my dues. I have paid my dues twice fold, in fact, I have probably over-paid somewhere along the way.

My youngest, Sofia, woke me up at 3am this morning. She was all pissed off and I could hear her attitude before I opened my eyes.

“Mom! There is blood on my underwear so that means I started my period. I am not happy about this! Do you hear me, I am not happy about this!”

Oh dear God, the beast has awoken.

“Do you hear me, Mother!”

Crap, she is serious. She used the word “mother.”

“Yes, Sofia, I am up. Thank you by the way for waking me up with your stomping across the hardwood floors at 3am.”

“I should have known this was going to happen. One week before I start school and I get my freakin period for the first time ever. Thanks, Mother, thanks a lot!”

“Umm, you do know this not my fault, right?”

Sofia is my little drama queen. Between her hair flips and exaggerated hand moves, home-girl is annoyed.

“Forget it, Mother! Where are the pads or whatever it is called?!”

Damn, she is a bitch when she wants to be.

*Sigh*

“Sofia, let’s bring it down a notch. This is normal, I did not set out and pray to the Gods above asking them to bestow your first menstrual cycle one week before school begins. The pads are in my room and Gracie has a stash in hers. Do you want to talk….”

“That’s all I needed to know Mother, I will handle this!”

I think we are all in agreement when I say we already feel sorry for her future spouse….if she chooses to even have one. Sofia is kinda scary, but it works for her.

You guys, this is like the circle and life and all that.

When I first began this blog, my sweet little innocent Sofia was three years old. And now here we are. She is blaming me for her menstrual period. Fun times!

In closing, to all you Mommy Bloggers out there, enjoy these moments. It won’t last so take it in now because before you know it, that sweet little baby you have in front of you, they do not stay that way.

And, in the time it takes you to change out of your black leggings and a simple white t-shirt, you will find yourself asking that sweet innocent baby for permission to write a post about their first menstrual period.

God speed, and when you need it because trust me, you will need it, just know that Vodka is always Calling.

 

 

 

 

 

My daughter came out.

My 12 yr old daughter, Sofia, wrote something. I am not sure if it should be called a post, a letter, an essay or what. She wrote a piece. She wrote her truth. In this piece, she talked about how she very recently admitted to me that she likes both boys and girls.

As you can imagine, the last few days we have been having many different conversations. Some initiated by me, some initiated by her. All of our conversations begin and end the same.

“We love you no matter what. We do not care who you date in the future. As much as we appreciate your honesty, dating rule is 17. Whether you are dating boys, girls or the Purple Freakin’ People Eater, there is no alone dating until you are 17. More importantly, we love you. You are strong and you are brave.”

Sofia was naturally worried about what her family would think. Especially her brothers and father. If I am to be honest, I was worried too.

I grew up in the church. I know how my family feels. I know what my family believes. I grew up in Virginia, during a time when even mixed relationships were frowned upon, not to mention homosexuals. Back then, very few people were openly gay, and if they were, it’s pretty safe to say they got jumped a time or two.

So when my 12 yr old daughter full of bravery and strength tells me she likes boys and girls, of course, my mind goes to the worst.

What will my family say?
What will my husband’s family say?
I know my family will be embarrassed.
Will they feel I brought them shame?
Will they blame me?
They won’t take me or Sofia seriously.

Then, I started thinking, if I feel this much anxiety about posting my daughters “coming out post” I can only imagine how much anxiety she felt holding it in.

I am a Christian. I believe in God. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. I believe I am a sinner. I believe we are all sinners. I do not believe that being gay is a sin.

I wish I was able to eloquently explain why it is that I do not feel being gay is a sin, but I can’t. However, I will give it my best try. It is just something I feel inside. When I pray to God and I ask for daily guidance and strength, when I pray for his will and direction, I just know that for me and my own personal relationship with God, I just know being gay is not a sin. I mean really, I am such a big ole hot mess, it probably is not even on God’s radar to speak to me about being gay. That’s just how I feel, and I do not know maybe I am wrong, but can anyone really question my own relationship with God?

When Sofia’s brothers read what she wrote, one of them cried. “Oh Mom, she got me. She really got me with the feels. I am proud of her.” The other one, read it “That’s what’s up. I am going to go give her a hug and tell her I am proud of her.”

When my husband read it he says “I would rather be dead than have any one of my kids be afraid to tell me anything. I love them all, no matter what.”

I posted Sofia’s piece on my personal Facebook page. I was nervous. I have a very diverse group of friends and family. I was just scared. “Oh she is too young, she does not know what she is talking about.” “What did you say to her? Maybe she feels you want her to be gay?” I don’t know, this is where my mind goes.

When I was a little girl, my first crush was Ralph Macchio. Soon after Michael J Fox, and then Buck Seward. A fellow student in my 4th-grade class. I knew I liked boys at an early age. No one ever said to me “Well, let’s give it time. Maybe you will change your mind and like girls when you are older.” For me personally, I just do not feel it works that way. You know what you know.

What I do know is Sofia has more confidence in her little pinky than I do in my entire body. She has a voice. A strong powerful voice. Sofia was the one who told me “I want to share my story. You never know Mom, I may be able to help someone.”

So, without further ado. Here is Sofia’s Story.

When I told mom and my sister I might like girls and boys I was so happy to tell them and scared because I always get this impression that you had to like boys only because my sister likes boys and my brothers like girls. So I always thought I had to like boys. But I never had a crush on anyone. But I always felt okay dating girls and boys but never had a crush. Weird. Then I realized I might like boys and girls it was weird at first but I was happy too cause it didn’t feel like I only had to like boys. It made me happy but scared because what would my family think of me? Would they hate me or kick me out? I was scared. But when it was me and my sister and my mom up and talking about relationships and my mom asked if we like girls or boys or both then I just said it that I might like girls and boys. I was so happy to let that out. My mom did not care as long as I was happy and hearing those words made me so happy to know that my mom supports me. And my sister did too but what scared me the most was my brothers and dad. I mean would they be disgusted with me or try to change me? Then it was me and my mom talking on the couch and I asked if my brothers or dad hate me if I like girls and boys. Then mom told me that the brothers won’t care as long as I am happy and dad the same thing. He won’t care as long as I am happy. That made me smile knowing my family is there and supporting me. I know it might be hard but it’s going to be okay in the end cause if you have someone you trust then tell them because they will understand.

Sofia.

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Lemons and Lemonade

I have noticed writing is a lot like sex. I want to write, but at the end of the day, I have no energy to write. It’s one of those things where I know if I just do it, then eventually I will fall into the groove,  but damn is it hard to muster up the energy to write. That pretty much sums up why this is the first blog post in God knows how long.

Summer vacation this far has been something else. Lots going on. Lots of stress going on. You know me, give it a few days and I will end up writing about the stress as well. It’s just one of those things where maybe the proper thing to do is let my family know before I write about it. Oh, who am I kidding, on a good day I have two family members who read this blog. Maybe I am good.

My husband has been working crazy overtime this summer. He has also picked up two new hobbies. Playing the guitar and reading. I mean he has always played the guitar, he just recently got back into it. He is good. Very good. In fact one night we stayed up until 3am trying to write an original song. He did the music while I did the lyrics. I think my husband and I will both agree that we are hard to work with.

He has also been engrossed in some new series of some kind of fantasy book. I have no idea. All I know is he will take the girls to the library, spend hours there, come home and read. He can seriously knock out a 400-page book in a day. Meanwhile, out of complete boredom, I have been reading “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Do not even get me started. All I will say is I seriously do not understand the hype. Plus the fact that there are two other books in the series makes me wonder if I need to change my writing genre.

Well, because our summer has been filled with stress and new hobbies and lots of overtime, I kind of found myself in an intimacy rut with my husband. It happens. You guys know it happens. For reasons that are still unclear, I just happen to write about mine.

I wanted to find a way to spice things up. Not in a “Fifty Shades of Grey” kind of way, but in a “Dude, are you still even attracted to me kind of way.” I do not know about you guys, but many times it is very hard for me to not take things personally. I somehow turn whatever is going on and make it about me. Logically, I know many times it is not even about me, it is about the other person. However, when I am going through it, it is hard for me to understand that.

So, Christin (who is the Ethell to my Lucy) and I came up with a plan. Disclaimer, probably not the most thought out plan, but it was a plan. Late one night we searched Amazon for the most perfect, reasonably price, lingerie. Again, nothing “Fifty Shades of Grey” ish, just something different and classy. Perhaps that is where I went wrong?

For ten bucks, I found a very lovely piece. Red and black mid-thigh length baby doll set. It was both classy and flattering. Something different from my usual black tank and shorts that I go to sleep in. I mean we know guys are all about the visual, right? Anyway, and this may be where my plan takes a turn down the “This does not even make sense road.”

I did not exactly plan to wear the lingerie. Oh no, that would be too easy. My “plan” was to leave it discreetly hanging up on our bathroom door with the hopes that my husband would see it, and, I don’t know, maybe some dialogue would start. Something like…

Husband: Hey, what’s that on the bathroom door? Is that new?

Me: Hmmm. I am not sure, have to go look. Oh that old thing, no, I bought that when we first go together….15 years ago.

Although it does not seem like it now, there really is a method to my madness. Yes, perhaps I read too much romance novels. Thank you Nicholas Sparks. I mean my husband cannot even see a bottle of ketchup that is sitting right in front of him in the fridge. Did I really expect him to notice a piece of lingerie that is hanging on the bathroom door?

In fact, if he were to ever read this post (and he won’t because he does not do social media) he would tell me, word for word “Why didn’t you just put it on?” to which I would reply “I don’t know, I had a plan!”

Well, I am happy to report that the lingerie has seen the light of day. I mean I still have not worn it, however, it has proven to be a really good hand towel when my daughter washes her hands after using the restroom. So, you know, make lemonade out of lemons and all that.

~Jennifer

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Kindness

Only twenty minutes left until the bell rings. We are outside on the “small playground” getting the kids ready for the bus. It is hot. Already at 85 degrees which is unusual for us this time of year. Everyone has had a long week. Students and teachers. Only twenty minutes to go. My phone rings. Quickly, I look at the number. It is a local number, yet one I do not recognize. I have a very unhealthy fear that at any given time Gracie will have a seizure, therefore, I always answer all local calls, because, you never know.

“Hello?”

“Hello, is this Jennifer?”

“It is but you need to make it quick I am at work.”

“Oh yes, of course. This is “Jessica Smith” the principal at…”

“Oh, of course, I will always make time for you, is everything okay?”

“Yes, I just wanted to connect with you and thank you for the email….”

Immediately I knew the email she was referring to. I took a small, silent breath of relief, realizing that everything is okay with Gracie, and I listened.

The woman on the other end of the phone is a mother of two. One of her daughters also has autism. The woman, “Mis Smith” is also the principal at the middle school my children go to. It was only then I realized she called me from her personal cell, and not the school phone.

“I was so touched. It just meant so much to me. You have no idea and…and…”

And she starts to cry.

Teacher Appreciation Week was this week. It came pretty fast. I struggled to decide what I could do to show appreciation for my daughters’ teachers. I wanted to do something but was at a loss.

Two days ago it all came together. I picked three strong educators who I feel make an impact on my girls, and in a somewhat lengthy email, I let our Superintendent know just how much I appreciate these women. One Principal, One Sped teacher, and one Gen Ed Teacher.

Apparently, the Superintendent forwarded the email to the teachers/principal. Which brings us up to date. On the phone with the principal, listening to her cry, telling me how much she appreciated my email, well, you know me, I almost started crying!

I have years of experience as a parent volunteer seeing first hand how much teachers do. I can fill this post up with stories of how over the years my children’s teacher not only tutored my own children but me as well. I can tell you the countless times I have seen teachers use their own money to supply classroom supplies, or the times they stay up all night making Christmas treats for the kids, especially the kids who may not get anything else for Christmas.

For the last eight months, I now have the perspective of being a paid employee with my district. Guess what, the stories do not change. I see it every day, I see teachers go above and beyond. So, for me, sitting down for twenty minutes, penning a letter to our Superintendent, well, that was the least I could do.

And being on the other end of the phone, listening to the tears of appreciation, well, it just reinforced what I already knew.

Educators, they do not need much.

Just a little “thank you” every now and then.

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The One Where I Was Blackballed.

Every Sunday “The Parents” make their weekly calls to all of us kids. Many times we will talk during the week, whether by text or a quick phone call, but every Sunday without fail they call. Of course, I am the only kid who answers every Sunday just like clock-work. This is of no importance other than to mention that perhaps I am “the good kid.” It’s okay, my siblings do not read this blog, so I am good!

Anyway, today The Parents and I had a nice little conversation of a memory from years long gone. It was my 14th birthday, and somehow The parents were able to pull off a pretty epic surprise birthday party. It all began with “Jen, can you take the trash in the kitchen to the garage for me?” I thought it was weird that I was handed a bag that was not even half full of trash, but whatever.

As soon as I opened the door that leads to the garage, I was greeted with countless “SURPRISE!” “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” and familiar faces of my friends. Many of whom I am facebook friends with today. It was a great memory, one made even nicer with the fact that my grandfather was there as well.

Then, the conversation with The Parents kinda took a turn for the worse. It took a turn down a long dark corridor to a memory that I feel pretty much screwed me up, but everyone gets a good laugh at to this day. Everyone except me that is.

It was my sisters birthday. She was turning 12. Now, although my sister and I were never really close back then, I did not think anything of it. The Parents rented out this Rec Center type of venue, and my sister was able to invite her friends. It was a boy/girl party, there would be music and some light snacks. I was actually kind of excited to go. I mean my sister and I hung out with different crowds, but I figured I would be able to invite my friend, and we could just hang out and feel important chillin’ at the Rec Center where there would be dancing, and music, and who knows, maybe I could even meet new people.

You see, back then, my friends were only church friends. I had no friends at school. Zero. My sister had friends everywhere. Church, school, the local pool hall, you name it. So in my feeble little mind of a 14-year-old, I thought that maybe I could meet some local school people then maybe people would start to be nice to me because my sister was the popular one, and everyone wants to be friends with the popular girl. Or hopefully the popular girls’ sister. Follow so far?

Now, imagine my surprise when I found out I was not invited to my sister’s birthday party. I will pause so you can read that line again. Yes, you read it right, my sister did not want me at her birthday party and The Parents backed her up.

Oh, my feelings were hurt so bad. I cried, secretly in my room while listening to Skid Row. I questioned everything. “Does my sister hate me so bad that she did not want me at her birthday?” “Am I that much of an embarrassment?” “Maybe I am too fat?” (I mean this is the mind of an insecure 14-year-old girl) It was a tough one for me, and clearly still is being that I am blogging about it!

I never really got a satisfactory answer. My sister did not want me there so I was not there. Now that I am a mother of four, and my girls are just about the same age apart as my sister and I, I can tell you 100% for me as a parent, I would not do that. We are all a united team, and excluding anyone is not an option.

I do not fault my parents, I mean at the time it was not about me. It was about respecting the wishes of my sister, and I will say if they truly ever knew how much it hurt me, I think things would have ended differently. I do not fault my sister. She was a brat back then. It would be a few years later where I went through my “brat phase.”

It’s just interesting to me. A memory that when reminded takes me back to those dark places. Things were different then.

After the phone conversation with The Parents, and after giving them fair warning that I am totally writing a blog about “The Time I Was Blackballed” I called Christin.

Excitedly, I told her I FINALLY have a blog to write about. I give her a quick synopsis of everything you just read.

Christin: Wait, what? You were not invited?
Me: I was not invited!
Christin: Are you being serious?
Me: Yes, I am totally serious!
Christin: Wow….this explains so much.

And there ya go! It kinda does explain a lot, right?

Now, again, it is important for me that none of you two readers come away from this post feeling some kind of way. Whether you think I need to get over it, or not agreeing with my sister or The parents, I feel I need to say that I had a wonderful, magical childhood. This particular incident was maybe just an “off day” for everyone, or maybe no one has any regrets? Who knows?

However, how fun would it be if we can somehow get my Dad, who has his own Blog that he writes with his brother) to do a follow-up post? I think that would be pretty epic. He could title it “The Time I Blackballed My Daughter” or something along those lines. Soooo, Dad, if you are reading this, I think sometime in between your crazy schedule you should write a post! That would be fun!

Anyway, on a closing note, what I have learned over the years, we all just try to do the best we can. And sometimes we are spread thin, we can never make everyone happy. It’s not always an easy lesson to learn, but it is a life lesson.

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The One About the Book and Real Life.

You guys know I enjoy writing. I currently have two books in the works that I hope to self-publish by September. I enjoy writing here on the blog. Whether I am pouring my heart out or writing about nothing in particular, I just enjoy it.

Just like most aspiring writers I have a collection of unfished work. Most of them in dusty old notebooks, a few of them on the worn and torn desktop. I always wanted to write a romance kind of story. But, a realistic one. Not one based on the Cinderella Fantasy. Know what I mean? A few years ago I started writing one. Out of all of my unfished work, I keep coming back to this one in particular. One day, I will get it finished.

The opening scene begins with a husband and wife. The wife (Jess) is sitting on the edge of her bed while her husband is pacing back and forth. He wants a separation. She cries, she is confused and is many ways never saw it coming.

The story then flashes back to an undisclosed amount of time. A younger Jess has a new, up and coming catering business. On this particular day, she is doing interviews for a cook. She meets Jack. Although she and Jack do not immediately hit it off, she hires him just based on his experience and references. The beginning of their working relationship offers a lot of comic relief, and then over time, they become friends.

The readers see their relationship progress from annoyance, to friendship, then dating. Jess and Jack have a great connection. We are rooting for them. They are real and likable. They are like us.

Then one-day Jack gets a call. His mother passed away unexpectedly. He leaves town to attend the funeral.

Time goes on and it is as if Jack dropped off the face of the earth. The readers are privy to information Jess does not know. Yet, the readers also see Jess heartbroken and confused.

We see Jess’ decent, then we see her rising. Eventually, she has healed. Jes puts her all into her catering business. Leaving no time for anything else.

One day at a flower shop of all places Jess meets Ryan. Slowly and cautiously, Jess and Ryan build a relationship. Their relationship is different than hers and Jack’s, yet the same.

As time continues to move forward, on a lazy Sunday morning, Jess runs into Jack at the local coffee shop.

A conversation takes place. A conversation that leaves us more confused than ever. All three main characters are likable. We want to see them all succeed.

It is at this point that we have no idea who the husband is in the opening scene.

Is it Jack? Is it Ryan?

Soooo, that is the gist of it. All I will say is one of the main leads I based off of Joe, my own husband. I think it has the potential to be a good story. Most importantly I want to write it in a way where both Jack and Ryan have equal fans.

I don’t know, I guess we will see what happens.

Now that I am older and wiser I know the “Cinderella Fantasy” does not exist. There is such such thing as Prince Charming. Hell, there is no such thing as Cinderella. It’s the writers and producers who want us to believe that Love is always wrapped up in a pretty red bow with candlelit dinners, passion, extravagant vacations and presents, but that is not who the real world works. Of course, we can have Love. But Love is good and the bad and overcoming it all even when you want to throw in the towel. The “Honeymoon” phase in a relationship is a very real thing. But, after that comes the “Comfort Phase.” If done correctly, the “Comfort Phase” will last a lifetime.

The “Comfort Phase” is being tired, and stressed out, but not wanting to be that way with anyone else. The “Comfort Phase” is not wanting to talk, yet wanting to be in the same room, reading a book while the other is watching t.v.  It’s going to bed at different times, tired, and moody, but once you feel the familiar touch of an arm wrapped around you or legs brushing against each other in bed, it just makes everything seem okay. That’s the Comfort Phase, and probably in my 12 years of marriage, my favorite phase yet.

~Jennifer

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