The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh

3/15/2014

I can't eat Corned Beef & Cabbage anymore.

I haven't been able to eat this St. Patrick's Day staple in about five years. Ever since my mom died almost five years ago now, the thought of eating it makes me sick to my stomach. We ate it every year  on St. Patrick's Day which also happened to be my Mom's birthday. She would make corned beef, cabbage, and boiled red potatoes. She always thought it was funny that she was born on a traditionally Irish holiday and she was 100% Dutch. We would sit down as a big family to celebrate Mom's birthday and eat the great meal she put together. I loved it but as a kid, not so much the cabbage part. I loved making a sandwich on the fresh rye bread she would buy special for the meal. The joking around we did a the dinner table and the happy look my mom had on her face as she looked at her family.

I have tried a few times to eat it since she passed away, but just can't. I get a couple of bites in before I feel as if I am going to throw up. St. Patrick's Day for me was never about the Irish Saint or even the meal, but about my Mom. It was about celebrating her life and now she is gone I don't care to celebrate the day. I know people think I am a bit strange when I tell them I can no longer bring myself to eat corned beef, but the truth is that I can't bring myself to explain how much that meal is wrapped up in a tradition that is all about my Mom.


1/27/2014

This time last year.

I've been thinking that a lot lately. This time last year my father was in the hospital again and we found out his cancer would take him from us soon. I was spending as much time with him as I could knowing that the clock was ticking against us. I was trying to get to know the man behind the "Dad". I was really listening to his stories this time as opposed to zoning out and thinking to myself that I had already heard this one before. I was sitting with him while in his confused state when he didn't know who I was or where he was. I answered him when he mistakenly called me Ida thinking I was my mom because I couldn't deny him the thought that he was with her again even if it was just for a short moment of time.

I dreamt of my dad last night and in my dream I did something for him I thought was nice, but all he did was complain because I didn't do it right. I got really mad at him for being an ass and not seeing that I was trying to do something for him but all I got was criticism. However that was my dad, always pushing me to do better even if it hurt more than helped. I was kind of disappointed when I woke up that it wasn't a nice dream with us enjoying each other, then I realized I wouldn't have believed it was really him in the dream if he wasn't annoying me somehow. haha

I pray that this year is better. I need a year off from seeing family members dying. I know I can handle pretty much what is tossed at me, but I just need a break.


I miss my dad.

1/04/2014

Neighbors, are they in the past?

Growing up I knew almost everyone on our block. The people to the right was a couple with a young daughter I used to tutor. The first family to my left was a couple with two boys who I grew up with and thought for sure I would marry, when they moved another couple moved in with a girl my age and we've been friends since though we have had our ups and downs. Then there were the other families the one who was best friends with my mom, the one who cut my hair, the people whose kids weren't the best behaved, the older couple who my mom cared for in their final years. There was the family of all boys whose cousin moved in and became one of my best friends. The neighbors would shovel each others sidewalks and driveways, mow lawns, or just sit on the porches and chat. The older couples whose children were grown, would watch out for the children on the block while they walked to and waited for the bus. The one house with the boys I remember spending as much time there before they moved as I did my own home. The mom became a second mom to me and to this day I still look to her as that. She was so supportive during the hard times with my own parents. I knew if I called she would help anyway she could. Then there were the families who moved away, but the friendships still stuck.

After I took my kids sledding today, I decided to shovel our sidewalk. We share it with an elderly couple, so I made sure to clear their path as well. I then went to clear out the slush around my van to discover the neighbor's was just a messy. So I continued on until I  made sure my close neighbors had clear walkways.  I didn't do this for gratitude, just because it is something I would like to be done for me. As I did that I realize that I don't really know my neighbors. There is the elderly couple who I always say hi to, the single mom on the other side who we say hi or discuss the weather, and now a young couple with a little girl who we barely get a wave out of. Then there is a single lady across the way who I have chatted with more than once and who is very nice to my kids. In a way I was sadden that I really don't know these people, then I  realize that this is just the way it is in many neighborhoods. We erect privacy fences so there no longer is talking to your neighbor through the fence. We tell our children not to talk to strangers and almost make them fear meeting new people. We see others problems as their own and don't think of trying to help.

Where our condo is situated, we are super secluded so I don't know how the rest of our neighborhood works. I do know that a lot of the time my neighbors annoy me and I don't want to take the time to get to know them. It may be the way they park, or the fact that they love cooking sauerkraut and the smell comes into our place, or the fact that I can hear their tv through my bedroom walls. I often want to just live in our bubble being secluded. However there are those times I wish I could call a neighbor to borrow butter or to ask if they can keep an eye out for a package that may be delivered. I don't though, instead I drag everyone to the store for that ingredient or pray the arriving package is still there when I get home. So this year I am going to try and be a better neighbor. Instead of avoiding eye contact or a quick hello, I am going to take time to smile, say hi and maybe ask how their day was. If I see snow needs to be shoveled instead of viewing as not my problem, I am going to shovel it. I'll bring in their garbage cans on garbage day when I bring up my own. Even if no one ever does these things for us, I don't care. Maybe if we all start being better neighbors to each other the world will start to change. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but not if everyone is isolated in their own homes afraid of helping their fellow man.

11/09/2013

When I grow up I want to be...

I remember as a child always wanting to do something with kids. I wanted to be a teacher, pediatric nurse, daycare owner, at one time I even envisioned having a place that helps teen moms. None of those happened, but I did become a mom which even though is a ton of work I love my job. I may go back to school to get a certificate for teacher assistant, but it is too late to become the teacher or nurse that I wanted to be. I also don't have the money to have my own daycare or create a loving supportive environment for teen moms.

 My oldest has been saying for a few years that she wants to be a teacher. She generally follows up with saying she will also be a hair stylist since she knows teachers don't make that much and she will need two jobs. Pretty sad that my 11 year old understands how little teachers are appreciated. Number two can't decide, but I have a feeling he has military or some sort of building/engineering in his future. Number 3 used to be a music conductor but is now thinking of being a scientist. My baby just wants to be a mom, she claims she will have 4 or 6 kids and she will live with me with her husband and kids. She decided that she would miss me too much to move away. Actually all my kids claim they will live with me forever.

So all of their dreams of the future are great and can change at any time. However why is it that when my little one claims proudly that all she wants to be is a mom I cringe? I immediately want to dismiss it and try to talk her into being a doctor, lawyer, president, teacher, gardener,  even a librarian. I don't though. I should be honored that she wants to be like me when she grows up, yet I want more for her. Which then makes me think about how I view my "job".

I love my kids and while I am not the greatest mom or wife, I try my hardest and I will fight for whatever they need. I don't get paid in money and some days I feel like I should just throw in the towel.  I worry that somehow I am fucking them up for life and not sure how to fix it. When I hear my friends talk about their jobs outside of caring for their kids, I worry that I am lacking as a woman. I don't have funny stories about my co workers to share. I spend my days talking to my littles and some days don't even know how to carry on a normal conversation with my husband. What I do during the day just does not seem important enough to share. Raising kids is one of the most important jobs anyone can have, yet why do I feel like I am setting a bad example to my children? I have already caught my kids making comments to me about how I don't have a job or even the question "what have you done all day?"when they were asked to do a chore. I am always sort of taken back when they make comments like that and attempt to answer without allowing my hurt feelings to get in the way. Thankfully my husband is my biggest supporter and will get on them for their ideas about what I do.

Even though I know what I am doing is super important, I feel inadequate to the rest of the world. When I am asked what my job is and I reply mom, I actually feel embarrassed as if I just admitted to staying in bed all day watching Gilmore girls. I am going to try my hardest not to get on myself about not being anyone besides just a "mom." In actuality, I am more than that, I am a caregiver, chauffeur, shoulder to cry on, Auntie, diaper changer, puke catcher, wife, laundress, cook, baker, and sometimes maid.

So when number 4 proudly announces that she wants to be me when she grows up, I will be proud and take it as a compliment that I must be doing something right.

10/09/2013

Today is Unity Day 2013.

You might be wondering what Unity Day is. It is a day to prevent bullying. You can read about it here. 

Bullying is something that hits close to home for me. As a teenager I was bullied and in turn became very depressed and had a lot of anxiety. I missed more days than I can count of school because I was making myself physically ill. I dropped 25 pounds in a matter of weeks, I was a wreck. I was embarrassed about being bullied so I never told anyone what was happening. I may have mentioned it to a friend in passing, but never elaborated. Even after my mom got me to a counselor because she knew there was something bothering me, I didn't tell. I feared that if I told someone what was going on, it would make things worse. It was only two people who belittled me daily, but what if I told and their friends started in on me too? Bullying leaves scars that never fully go away. It destroys your self esteem and makes you doubt yourself. I still remember the names and faces of those kids. Hell, I even remember the teacher, class, and who I sat by. 

My son has been a victim of bullying himself. He had a friend who would be very mean to him and mutter mean things under his breath at him. He would later apologize, but it would start all over. I finally explained to him that this kid was not a friend. That a true friend does not treat you bad and make you feel bad about yourself. Thankfully he was able to distance himself from that kid and seems to have helped. I worry about him though because he is a perfect target for bullies. 

Last night my oldest who has been struggling with middle school informed us that she too is being bullied. I knew something was up because she was becoming a bit more withdrawn. I am so happy she had the courage to tell us instead of hiding like I did. However, she doesn't want the teachers to know for fear that they will call the kids out and it will get worse. What do you do in a situation like that? I want to fix it for her, but also want to honor her wishes. So I contacted the school's counselor to see if they could talk to her and give her some tips on dealing with it. I hope by the end of today she will have some sort of peace of mind. 

Watching my own kids go through bullying, sucks me right back to that classroom with those kids tormenting me. It is taking everything on me not to unleash my mama bear and got rip those kids apart. This might be one of the toughest things I have had to deal with as a parent yet. 

9/26/2013

I am not one of "those" moms.

The one who get up at the ass crack of dawn to make their little angels a huge breakfast before they head of to school. The one who at drop off look as if they had just hit the beauty salon because their hair and make up is near perfect. The mom who packs their kids nothing but healthy food in their lunch bags. The mom who spends her days working out and cleaning her already immaculate house. The one who picks her kid up from school in her perfectly detailed car. The one who has every hour scheduled to do something,  the one whose kid does their chores without a complaint . The one who always seems to be put together and never complains.  The one who never yells at her child but just barely has to raise her voice to be heard.

The truth is that I am just me. I view it as an accomplishment if I get up five minutes before my kids in the morning. They get whatever frozen breakfast item or whatever cereal we have, yes even the sugar filled kind.  I am lucky if I run a hair brush through my hair before I drop them off at school. As for makeup, what is that? I might wear it to a wedding. My kids get a sandwich, chips, a cookie and some sort of fruit (sometimes) in their lunch. Yes, I give my kids chips for every lunch. *gasp* Unless of course the child decides to bring a bowl of cereal for lunch. I do try to send them a joke or fun fact in their lunch to read, however I am just happy if less than half of what I send comes home. My day is spent caring for a 4 year old and 2 year old tornadoes. Seriously, they way those two destroy my home is freaking amazing! After I drop the 4 year old off at school, it is nap time for the 2 year old. I guess I should use that time wisely. Sometimes I eat, usually for the first time that day and catch up on my shows I had to DVR from the night before because my kids were having World War III in my living room. I pick up some of the toys, but usually just leave them because I know as soon as my mini tornadoes are together again, shit will just get destroyed anyway. Working out to me is walking the kids the five blocks to their school. Hey, at least I burn some calories. My van looks as if we live in it and if the kids can get in and out without some piece of garbage falling out, I am stoked. Five kids, plus many hours shuttling them back and forth to places does not a clean van make. My windows are filthy and there is now rust around the door. The hours in my house are a free for all because mom is usually trying not to lose her shit. After school, we have a snack and do homework. Homework with #2 regularly involves crying and frustration, he is not fond of it either. Seriously, I had to YouTube how to figure out a freaking 4th grade math problem the other day! My kids bitch if I ask them to put their clothes in the hamper, heaven forbid chores get done without some sort of meltdown. I complain, a lot and I yell.

However, I am one of those moms whose loves her kids even if I don't always like them. I am the one who worries that her nine year old son will never know what it is like to have a true friend. I am the one who worries that her daughter will suffer from the same self esteem issues I still struggle with. I am the one who instead of worrying what my house looks like instead chooses to sit on the couch snuggling my kids and watching Lilo & Stitch for the umpteenth time because I know how fast it goes. I am the mom who looks forward to school starting. I am the mom who worries that I am a bad example for my kids because I never went to college and instead am "just" a mom. I am the mom who apologizes to her kids when I do lose my shit because after all I am human, I am the mom whose children know when I have a bad migraine to play quietly and actually get a long. I am the mom who likes to sing out loud and dance around the house with my kids because they think it is hilarious.  I am the one who instead of sitting out of the pool at a water park am actually in my bathing suit in front of strangers(yikes) hanging out with my kid.

Some of my friends are "those" moms or at least partially one. You know what, I envy them and secretly hate them all at the same time. (Kidding, you know you rock.)  I wish I had my shit together, but for me it just isn't going to happen. Maybe by the time I become a Grandma I will figure out it all.

9/18/2013

So, my feelings have been hurt.

I haven't been blogging because I don't have a lot to say or I have so much I can't get it straight in my head. That being said, my feelings got hurt a while back and for some reason I just can't get over it. It was by a friend after my dad passed and I am sure it wasn't intentional, but in a way that makes it 100 times worse. I might feel better if this person didn't call or contact me in the days, weeks, even months following his passing because they weren't sure what to say, instead I believe in my heart it was more of a case of not really caring. My loss of someone who they knew I used to hate was just a teeny blip on their radar. Perhaps this person thought I was better off now that he was gone, I don't know and perhaps never will. I know we are told to forgive and in time I can but I will never forget. Right now the wound is still too fresh.

My advice if you don't want to lose true friend, when a friend loses someone reach out somehow, a call, email, text, hell even a facebook message just letting them know you are thinking and praying for them makes a world of difference. Do it sooner rather than later too because by the time months have passed and you have finally decided to call, it may be too late.

It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.  ~William Blake,

8/29/2013

I feel guilty.

I have a huge amount of guilt lately because I often still feel a deep ache from my mom being gone, but with my dad it isn't as painful. I mean she has been gone for 4 years and he has only been gone for just for 4 months. I think a lot has to do with the fact that my mom and I were so close that it was literally like losing a part of myself. Perhaps it was because the loss of my mom was quick and rather unexpected while with my dad we had 9 months to kind of prepare. Though you can never truly be prepared for losing a loved one no matter how much time you have. I am not saying that I don't miss him, because I really do, the 4th of July was a hard day for me and of course I was just a bitch that day. For the last 6 years or so my parents came with us to my in laws for the 4th for a barbecue. I remember the first 4th without mom it rained most of the day and I remember my Dad saying it was her crying because she couldn't be with us. I guess in a way I thought this year would perhaps rain but instead it was a beautiful day. I feel bad for the people who had to deal with me that day. lol I never did voice why I was in such a bad mood because it took a while for me to even wrap my head around why I was so angry.


7/20/2013

Is it the middle of July already?!

This summer has been crazy busy. Right after school got out, we went on a two week vacation. We went to Disneyworld for a week then to a beautiful beach house in Hernando Beach, Florida. Our house was right on the Gulf of Mexico.  Let me tell, I took way too many pictures! Then again, can you really take too many pictures of a special vacation? I spent countless hours with my girls get signatures of every princess and even two fairies, along with all the traditional Disney characters. Even though Disney is quite the money sucking place, it was worth it to see my kids get so excited to see their favorite characters. We've been home a month now and they still talk about it daily. Our house in Hernando was just a great. We got to see lizards, dolphins, stingrays, fish, and even jellyfish. My kids were amazed to be able to look out the windows and watch s small dolphin pod swimming around and literally throwing fish up into the air using their tails. We also got to visit with my brother and his family who live in Florida. It was great being able to see them, in a happy setting and not because of death.

After we got back for Florida, Lauren started in summer school and I got my first taste of teaching at our church's summer religious education program. Even though at times they were exasperating, I really enjoyed myself. It was nice to get out and actually feel like I was doing something worthwhile. I finally could relax a bit now that both summer schools are over. That is as much relaxing as anyone with kids can. If you click on the pictures, they get bigger. :)

The guys went on a canoe ride and came across manatees. 

The water was so clear you could see the fish.

View of the Gulf from the back of the house.

I named this guy Larry the Lizard, he kept me company while I read. 

Jellyfish, toward the middle of the picture.



6/06/2013

My advice, take pictures!

I'm sure you are wondering what I am talking about. As I was putting together picture collages with my nieces after my dad passed, I realized there weren't many pictures of him and I past the age of 5. Perhaps it was because I didn't want to take pictures or the cost of developing was too much or perhaps he didn't want his picture taken anymore. I then thought about how many pictures of me with my kids there are and there really aren't a lot. A lot of the time I am the one behind the camera or I hate the way I look so I refuse to take a picture. However I realize now that when my kids are older they won't care what I looked like in the pictures. They will perhaps see a picture of us and remember a fun time we shared together. Remember to take pictures of your kids with their grandparents too! The day after my dad passed Nick immediately asked me for a picture of him and Papa together. Thankfully, Alexander had snapped pictures with his little camera a few months before otherwise there would not have been any individual pictures of my dad with Nick. So the next time you are together and you are the one taking pictures, ask someone to snap a picture of you and your kids. I guarantee you won't regret capturing a memory to look back on.

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” ― Karl Lagerfeld


Mom, Me, & Dad