Posts Tagged ‘
Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
Last week I wrote about my irrational anger at everyday noises. Anything that stands in the way of Fia’s nap sets me off. So I came up with a solution. She now naps in our downstairs bathroom–in her stroller. It’s the only dark windowless room in our house. I turn on the ventilation fan, strap her in, and boom, she’s out within seconds. I can get anywhere from 1-3 hours.
I bank on this time. It’s how I get stuff done.
So it came with extreme irritation and fury when just 30 minutes into her nap Phil came downstairs and yanked open the bathroom door. I was on the phone and mouthed the biggest WTF???? my lips would do, throwing my arm in the air with exasperation. He of all people knows better. He mouthed something angrily back. I hung up my call to the sound of a cry.
?!$#?&%! YOU WOKE HER UP! I shouted, ready to spit I was so pissed.
“IT SMELLS LIKE NATURAL GAS IN THE UPSTAIRS BATHROOM!!!” (which is right above the one she naps in) he yelled back, as he gently picked her out of the stroller with a hug. “I WAS MAKING SURE IT WASN’T DOWN HERE!!” We sounded like the Costanza’s.
Seething, I stormed past them both, went upstairs, and boom the smell hit me like a dozen rotten eggs. It was one of those moments where I knew he was right. And should be touched by his protective nature. For god’s sakes…you don’t mess with gas. It can kill.
Yet, somewhere inside, a voice was still saying, “But did you have to open the bathroom door so loudly??”
I sulked downstairs, knowing my to-do list would stay to-do. I couldn’t bring myself to apologize. I was still fuming. “I’ll call the management company,” I said tersely.
They told us to put a fan in the upstairs bathroom and call them back in 45 minutes if the smell persisted. (Great advice by the way. Seriously?)
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips | Tags: anxiety, baby napping, baby naps, baby sleeping, dark, irrational anger, mom, mom solution, nap, sleep, sleep deprivation, stroller, stroller naps
Monday, July 11th, 2011
As she lay dying, I spoke to her on the phone. I told her that it was okay to go. That she would live on through me and Fi.
I told my mom’s sister how much Fia loves sautéed spinach.“Your mom loved that growing up. We’d call her Popeye,” she said. I cringed. Dear lord, please give Fia the good genes from her. Like love of spinach and not crack.
It’s not that my mom didn’t have some amazing traits. In her early years she was smart and beautiful. Kind and colorful. But that was then. In her darkest days her childhood friends would shake their heads and tell me, “Everyone in high school wanted to be Suzy Newlon. Such a shame.” We’d all look down and mumble awkwardly in agreement.
Five decades of alcohol and drug abuse—including picking up a crack habit when she was 62-years-old—a few suicide attempts and a clear-cut diagnosis of bipolar—didn’t really give her a fighting chance.
One recent Christmas she went around her Florida condo complex with a 20-foot ladder. She climbed up the trees and spray-painted the coconuts red. It was an instant hit. On another Christmas she tried to kill herself by jumping off a parking garage.
I truly believe some people are born to conquer addiction while others are just born to stay addicts.
Last year at 64, her life had become desperately depressing and tragic. I rarely spoke to her. Neither did my siblings. But then a miracle occurred.
She had an intestinal rupture and went septic. Almost died. Ended up on life support. And while her health slowly deteriorated, her life got surprisingly better.
For the next 11 months she was mostly confined to a hospital bed. She had psychiatrists who tweaked and tweaked her mental meds. She had hot meals and an entire staff at her beck and call. She was the queen bee and basked in her royal treatment.
“I love it here. I can order a milkshake at 3 in the afternoon,” she’d tell me in her southern drawl.
The next day she would complain that the chicken was dry.
“Mom, this is a hospital, not the Four Seasons,” I’d remind her on the phone.
“I know that, but how hard is it to cook chicken right?”
I’d roll my eyes; secretly glad she was even complaining. In the past, depressive days meant curling up “in the ball” on her couch and refusing to speak to anyone.
At least now we knew where she was and that she was safe. It was also finally safe to bring Fi down to meet her. A hospital—germs and all– is far more sterile than her living conditions had become over the years. And I knew what I was getting: glimpses of the mom I had in childhood; when she was a superstar. Cool, fun, unconditionally loving.
Over this past year almost every trip down she was alert and attentive. She couldn’t get enough of Fi. This is a woman who had missed so much of my life. My wedding, my pregnancy, the birth of my daughter. We were both getting a second chance.
She would tell me how much Fia reminded her of me when I was little. I’d relish the stories. And feel relief that (so far) it seems Fia has much more of me in her genes than her grandmother. I can only pray the ones she does have from either of us are the good ones.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Losing a Parent, Must Read | Tags: addiction, bipolar, death, death of a parent, depression, drugs, flowers, genes, hospital, life support, lilac, lilacs, Losing a Parent, losing mom, mom, mom dying, traits
Monday, July 11th, 2011
We’d communicate through lilacs. That’s what my mom and I decided on my last visit to see her.
We debated between them and hyacinths. But she was the expert. She ran a successful plant and flower business for years– until her demons got the best of her. I trusted her instincts on this one. Plus, she reminded me, we had a big one in our yard growing up–and that my favorite color was lavender.
A week later I got the call. Her time was running out. There were probably only hours left.
I went desperately seeking a lilac bush. It was early June and I knew the season had passed. But surely there must still be one in bloom.
I found one with two blooms hanging on. They were past their perfect purple color, on the brink of death. But I could still close my eyes and inhale. I called my mom. Her caregiver put the phone to her ear.
“Mom, I’m standing here in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I’m smelling a lilac.” I heard a small moan. I went on to describe the setting. I could sense her smile. In life, nature was where she found peace and perfection. Nature could also survive the storms. She had too–for better or worse—until now.
“Remember to find me. Every year I will wait for them to bloom. And I’ll know you’re here with me,” I said through tears.
I heard a deep breath and sigh.
“I just wanted to make sure we have our plan in place,” I continued. “That you won’t forget.” My voice remained strong. For many years, I was the mother to my mother. This day was no exception.
“You can go now.”
I hung up the phone. That was the last time I spoke to her. She died two days later on June 7, 2011.
So now I wait until next spring when we talk again.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Losing a Parent, Must Read | Tags: call, communicate through flowers, death, death of a parent, flowers, lilac, lilacs, mom, mom dying, phone
Sunday, June 26th, 2011
I’m pretty blown away by all the comments we’ve received (and I say that collectively, because many of us are commenting on each others comments as well). These three posts over the course of one week have caused quite a stir. We’ve had the good, bad and ugly.
I bow to so many of you for commenting in such eloquent, meaningful ways. Everything from sharing your story as a SAHM because your child has autism, seizures and cancer (there were a few of you and my heart goes out to how brave and strong you are. Those are not easy cards to be dealt. For me, unimaginable)– to those who feel privileged to be at home or at an office working. Or at home working. It sounds like for most of us, the arrangements we have fit our lifestyle. And that judgment isn’t necessary. Yet we do it anyway.
Why is it so hard not to judge? I have to catch myself all the time. Even the way I judge other members of my family or my neighbors–even my friends. I don’t know why it is human nature to feel superior. But for many of us, it is. Perhaps it’s insecurity or justification, but sometimes it just comes down to thinking your way is right and others are wrong. Why can’t it be that your way is right and other people’s ways are also right? It’s a work in progress for me.
I think the other theme I picked up on, particularly from the SAHMs is the lack of recognition they receive. And again, why is it that we feel such a need? Is it because the working people of the world get a tangible reward, i.e.: a pay raise, a compliment or a trophy? I know we moms get our kisses and hugs, which in many ways mean so much more, but it IS hard to not be recognized by your peers, your husband, your family when the job your doing is exhausting, and at times, thankless.
I took Fia to my in-laws this spring (a plane ride away), by myself. My husband was on a deadline. I went for two reasons: so that they could see her and so we could both be pampered. Yet, I was fishing for compliments from my husband on how above-and-beyond I was going.
“My mom friends told me how cool it is for me to be flying Fia to Wisconsin to see your parents.”
“But you want to go,” he replied, seeming puzzled.
“I know, but still don’t you think what I’m doing is pretty great?”
“Yeah, I love that you’re doing it, but it’s also benefiting you.”
Not exactly the response I was looking for. But in all honesty, I had 24 hour childcare (oh no, here we go again with that bad word. Kidding), time to write, workout, and just hang out and relax. It was great. Why do I feel like I needed to be recognized as a hero? To be told I’m wife and daughter-in-law of the year?
These are all questions we can continue to ask each other and ourselves. Let’s just try and be kind about it. Like I said in one of my comments, you catch more bees with honey than vinegar…. Plus, it tastes better too.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, The Sitter Chronicles | Tags: baby, babysitters, being a mom, diaper, diaper bag, judgment, judgmental, judgmental moms, lack of recognition, mom, motherhood, recognition
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
I was a bit surprised by the firestorm my blog set off. I was pondering it with my girlfriends Tuesday morning at the playground when a very strange thing happened.
A woman I had never seen came running up to us. She was almost in tears.
“Have you seen a blue baby blanket?” she asked frantically. (Her name is Julie.)
We shook our heads no.
“My sitter took it out with my son today and lost it!! It is his special blanket that was made from yarn we got in Australia. I let them take it because his father had to fly to Australia today and my son wanted to hold it. I even told her to be careful with it,” she said, clearly distraught.
My gals and I looked at each other, mouths hanging open.
“You gotta talk to HER!” my friend Stephanie said, pointing at me. It was like the universe sent Julie to me. Divine intervention reinforcing the point of my blog.
She went on to say, “You know the most ridiculous thing about this? I am paying my sitter to watch my son while I go searching for it.” I nodded. Been there too. It’s on my mom-crutch post.
Now before conclusions are drawn, let’s step back and think for a second what this argument is really about.
It’s about what we moms define as important. And what our expectations are. And it’s okay to agree to disagree. But I think it goes deeper than that. There was an underlying tone and theme in many of the comments. It speaks to the judgment we cast on each other, particularly the Stay At Home Moms versus the Working Moms.
And so begins Part 2 and 3 of my Sitter Chronicles.
Let’s first answer the question– how do things get lost? Sometimes it boils down to an accident. A mistake. And in that case, yes, get over it. But a lot of times it’s because tots fling things out of the stroller, or throw something in the playground. I know the few times I have lost stuff it’s due to texting while strolling (not something I’m proud of). Or not paying enough attention to what Fia is doing. I accept that my behavior is unacceptable. And I make a conscious decision to be better. So are sitters beyond reproach on that? I don’t think so. Because at the top of their job list is to pay attention to their biggest responsibility: The Child. Not their phone or their sitter friends. I believe that is exactly how Julie’s baby blanket got lost. And Fia’s things.
Dear lord. Diapers are a shit storm—literally and figuratively. I heard you all loud and clear on not checking the diaper bag: guilty as charged. Last Saturday was the first time it happened. And it bit me—and Fia—in the butt. It won’t happen again.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Must Read | Tags: accidents, baby blanket, babysitters, diaper bag, diapers, expectations, judgmental, judgmental moms, lose, lost, lost baby blanket, mistakes, mom, moms, playground, professionals, raising a child, responsibility, sahm, sensible, sippy cups, sitter, sitter responsibilities, sitters, stay at home moms, stroller, texting, texting and strolling, toy stroller, wipes, working moms