Category Archives: choices

Eye Contact.

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Eye Contact.

I think we are all aware of how important eye contact truly is.

In some cultures it is considered rude to not make direct eye contact.

It would seem untrustworthy in a job interview to not be able to make eye contact with your prospective employer/employee…

If I were on a date, I might find it odd and unnerving if my date couldn’t make eye contact…or even trying to talk with a loved one or friend about some topic I was concerned about…it could lead me to think they thought otherwise of what I was saying, or knew more about the topic than they let on.

Regardless of the circumstance, eye contact is important.

And it seems to bug me a lot lately.

It’s not my husband…he is a pro at eye contact…at holding one’s attention when speaking…albeit a little long-winded, but able to hold his audience’s attention.

Especially with my kids.

Not my older kids…I know when they don’t make eye contact with me, it’s because they are up to no good…and can call them out on it before they can blink.

I have such guilt about my lack of eye contact…with my little ones.

It’s me.

I know I spend 99% of my days with them. I wake them, feed them, help dress them, entertain them read to them…but rarely look them in the eye.

Just typing that hurts.

I am consumed with NOT making eye contact with them…with doing the necessities so I can go back to what I want to do- whether its daily chores, work, painting, reading an article, grocery shopping or just zoning out on social media (the worst of it all)…I feel as though if I make direct eye contact with these precious little faces, they will suck me in…I will never get anything done. I will have to play Barbie’s or a board game or matchbox cars, or color…God forbid I stoop to their level and interact with them in their world…yet I expect them to behave at all times in my adult world of rules, chores, grocery shopping, work and Twitter updates.

I am ashamed. But I am guilty of this.

I will occasionally succumb to the world of all things imaginary, but after doing it with the older kids, and faced with doing it for another five to ten years, I feel deflated…defeated. Like…”when the hell is it gonna be about me?” kind of feeling. Or I get that charming reminder from family or friends that we CHOSE to have more babies later in life…

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Marley attempting to hold her almost 11 pound baby brother, Chance, five years ago.

Yes, we did ( what can I say…we like each other…a lot!).

And I will own that choice. But I am no good to my babies, old or young, if I am defeated and deflated.

I guess I can’t look them in the eye because of this…my guilty feeling that I feel like I deserve more time to myself because I already did this for twenty past twenty years…I am tired, beaten down and older…

But I promise those sweet little faces in my picture above, that they will have more of my attention. I selfishly want time to belong to me, but their time as little ones is so short…

I will promise them to look them in the eye each day, and tell them I adore them, and ask them what they want to do with me…that may open a can of worms, but it is the job I signed on for, and the guilt is too much to bare some days…so…

I promise I will be a better mother, mommy… a better me. I will look all of my loved ones in the eye and remember why we became a family in the first place.

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The La-La Vote.

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The La-La Vote.

I am as sick of talking politics as the rest of the world is…for sure.

But I struggled for two days to put into words, my perception of how things unfolded with our Presidential Election. It finally hit me, but there was no intelligent way for me to explain it, other than this…

The La-La Vote.

It happened.

Many people will deny it, but when you look at the numbers for the Electoral AND the Popular votes, there is no denying it.

You cannot tell me every vote was cast by a so-called deplorable –

Uneducated white racist/bigoted voter…

You cannot tell me every middle and low income family voted liberally for one of the most unfavorable candidates in history…

Or just because she was a woman…

These votes were cast by people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. By doctors and lawyers and teachers and firemen. People who were successful, and people who struggled to feed their families.

I cannot fathom the vast majority of my town where Trump signs decorated almost every single lawn, that these hard working,(some wealthy some not), folks have that much hate in them to have voted for a candidate whose ideals are based on hate. And all of them being okay with turning the clock back fifty years, especially in a small town where our schools are diverse and many families are in the low income bracket. Are my neighbors speaking to these black and Hispanic families directly? We don’t want your kind here…get out! Maybe a few think like that, but all I have seen is open arms and love and support for all ethnicities in my town…so what is it then?

I cannot fathom a very liberal environmentally-conscious family such as ours with lots of kids (some in college), voting for Clinton,(who changes her mind to suit the vote and the audience), and comes out more popular in the race with no firm stance on TPP or the pipeline, or money in politics…how could anyone vote for a person who was taking millions as she spoke about getting Wall Street out of politics?

I choose to see it like this-

There are a handful of true racist, backwards thinking bigots who came out of the woodwork when they heard there was a leader who spoke their language…maybe they cast a vote on Tuesday, or maybe they just screamed and yelled at rallies and at the t.v. for a year and will slither back to where they came from. Regardless, they made it known to the world, that they still exist…that the hate still exists.

It never went away.

Then there are those people who just vote to vote. They don’t watch the news or pay attention on social media. Born and raised a Democrat or Republican, they stay true to their party, no matter who the candidate. No fear or consequence in their minds by casting a vote if you are not aware of all the commotion its causing.

Which brings us back to the La-La Vote…

These folks are aware of what is going on…the corruption, the lies, the hate, the rage brewing. They don’t understand the idea of third party voting and they don’t want to not vote. They paint pretty little pretty pictures in their minds and on social media of their candidate and ideals to suit their needs and desires for their vision of America.

They just want their party to rule.

So they were backed up against a wall…

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You must choose between one of these two people…ignore the facts, ignore the scandals, ignore the proof that neither one should have been allowed to continue to run due to all the investigations and corruption. But we were forced into being left with this…

 

 

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See nothing. Hear nothing. Say nothing.

 

 

For the love of all things Holy, just let this nightmare be over…

Those doctors and lawyers and teachers didn’t want to hear about rape scandals and walls being built anymore than the doctors and lawyers and teachers on the other side of the aisle wanted to hear about smashed cell phones, and email scandals and dirty money.

It is over. Finally.

And now  half of the La-La Voters are very mad. The losing side, obviously.

Rightfully so…but maybe, just maybe if they had taken their fingers out of their ears or uncovered their eyes, something could have been about it much sooner. And for those who did cast a vote in his favor, if things wind up getting ugly or violent, you chose to look the other way as well.

Neither side can cast a stone.

The numbers and the knowledge were there all along. There were many other options for both sides…so it is what it is now.

We need to pick ourselves up and rise above it…

I grew up in a family of Republicans, and know that this is not how most Republicans think. His words were extreme to grab the attention of the world and get votes…and it worked.

My prediction,(as we have already started to see), is a lot of back-peddling on policies and ideas. And those who truly reveled in the hate speech will just have to go back to where they came from…

There is no room in this world for hate anymore.

It is not welcome.

We all need to take responsibility for how and why we got to this point. But some will continue on, fingers in their ears, blaming others.

Regardless of who is President, one thing is evident…hate does still exist. And there is still so much work to do to clean up Washington and the corruption in politics.

Let’s focus now on the path forward…eyes wide open.

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We Most Likely Won’t Be Friends Anymore After I Vote On November 8th.

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We Most Likely Won’t Be Friends Anymore After I Vote On November 8th.

I am voting on Tuesday, as we all should. But I have decided to stick with my gut, and vote with my heart. I will be writing Bernie Sanders in. He told his supporters months ago, to not listen to him if he tried to convince us to vote for someone else.

And I trust he is right.

Otherwise, I am stuck with voting for two humans…a man and a woman…who are, combined, the most loathed candidates at one time in U.S. Presidential election history.

Both equally shady. Both equally disturbing.

I won’t tell anyone who to vote for, but I sure have had many people attempt to convince me to drop the Bernie act, or else.

I see it as a much bigger problem though.

We can be bullied into voting for one of two people who most likely will wind up having to be pardoned or impeached. I choose to save our country a little time a money, and be more optimistic.

We had a candidate that crushed the GOP candidates in almost every poll. We had a candidate that surpassed the other choice in many polls and won a shocking number of states in the primary…

But somehow he lost. We let him go.

We really needed someone-anyone like him to revive this self-destructive country from even more potential damage.

We should have been focusing on what was truth and what we needed to heal as a nation from years of failing healthcare, violence against each other, hate, low wages…

Instead we were distracted with even more violence and hate and even more of a headache with more insane plans for healthcare, how to stop violence, and creating jobs and equality for all.

We were told we were not sensitive enough to blacks, to gays, to police, to refugees…we were told to hate the other side even more because the Orange guy said racist and bigoted things. We were told to hate the lady in the pantsuit because…well, because she is a lady.

We never stopped to look around at the rubble…of the senseless murders of all the blacks and gays and police we were all too busy hating on.

The smoke is so thick in front of our eyes…

We have been blinded by the media and government…this hate never went away. Martin Luther King Jr. lead the path to transparency to seek truth and justice…but it wasn’t over yet.

It never really went away.

The Orange guy says all those dirty little secrets that have been whispered for ages…he spoke truths for those who were silenced by the media and government…and that’s ok in my book. We were fooled. We began to think people were more empathetic towards each other…enlightened after too many years of hate. These folks never decided to be more open-minded or more liberal. They kept talking, but no one was listening…until now.

The Orange guy handed them the megaphone on a silver platter…for ALL the world to hear…yes, world, this is how many Americans still feel. They are full of hate and fear and loathing for all things different-sexuality, abortion, race…nothing has changed.

And as for that lady…I wouldn’t give her that dignified title as a Lady…

She may have a vagina, but she has the balls of a hundred men.

To brazenly try to walk back in the White House as the rightful heir after she and her husband and their entourage of thugs were ever so nicely kicked to the curb…for many good reasons.

So now we are to forget about all their scandals, and all the hate speech the Orange guy spews and celebrate Tuesday night as we elect one of two criminal psychopaths? We are to cheer and to praise God he won/she won? That it is finally over?

Wednesday will be a hangover that will last for four very long years…

America made the wrong choices…for both parties.

 

I will not tell you to write in Bernie (although if you want to, that’s great!), but we need to reflect on how we got to this point, and how we will survive four years of pure hell. We had plenty of options on both sides…and now we have come to this…

I will have to live with your choices…I voted for Bernie. And I will not be told to or bullied into voting for either of your candidates. I will not make this bed…

You can make the bed…I won’t be lying in it.

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Left Behind.

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Left Behind.

I left it all behind…

I cannot believe it has been two months since I have written a blog. I lost my interest when something else captured it.

Politics.

It has been consuming me, causing a wicked fire in my belly. All day and night, and keeping me awake through the night way too often. I haven’t been this passionate about anything in a long time…especially politics.

I won’t get in to my feelings or views…I just can’t right now. It feels like wasted breath at times. Then I get a hold of myself and realize it is never wasted breath when you believe in something so strongly.

It has affected my daily life, where I have been distracted from household chores, ignoring my kids- “just give me ONE more second”- and even my blog.

I could apologize to my husband, children, and my neglected home and blog, but I don’t think it is necessary. They understood. They saw my passion and heard it loud and clear most days.

There is something profound about young children being curious about politics and world issues at very young ages…especially when my teenage/ young adult kids are really not interested at all.

The little ones chanted and cheered with me while watching debates, and news shows. They cheered me on when I would drag someone along with me to a march or rally. They don’t completely understand what is going on, but are adorably enthusiastic about it all.

The dust is settling today in the world of politics, as the conventions have ended and we all have a pretty good idea what we are up against now. It is time to focus on real life on the home front for a while, and turn my political passion in a reality.

To find some balance again…

I won’t give up on this new found hobby/interest…it is important to stay focused on what my children will need as they grow older. To not have endless wars, debt, and a world crumbling in front of their eyes and all around them…

To give them hope.

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I am going to give myself a day or two to refocus on what lies ahead, and hug my kids tighter. Maybe take out the dust cloth and organize some things around here…November isn’t too far off, and I will need to find balance in both arenas before diving back in to the deep end of the murky pool of  dirty politics…

So until then, I will remind myself daily of why I was so passionate for all those months and how I lost track of daily life, I will continue the good fight for what’s right for myself and my family, and most importantly…

Keep balance with it all so no one or no thing, is left behind again.

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Consumed.

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Consumed.
Not only have I been consumed with food in the past few weeks (my jeans will attest to that), but I am consumed with all things political. Never in my adult life have I been this interested in politics or the candidates, or even the policies at hand.
Consumed is being too easy on myself. My husband or family may say it is more like obsessed.
The only free time I usually had was to write a blog, and that entailed getting up at the crack of dawn, or piecing notes together from my phone when I have an idea, or sadly and more frequently,  ignoring my kids.
I don’t want to ignore my children to indulge myself, but getting up before the sun, or forcing myself to stay awake at night after long days of cooking/cleaning/activities, is just impossible.
I am getting old.
I can’t stay up late AND I now love politics.
No offense to older folks…I just always equated politics and CNN or Fox News with my Grandparents or parents…
Guess that is me now too.
I have this magnetic pull to check constant updates on Twitter and FB, in between cleaning up meals and loading the dishwasher.  My four year old says “one more minute” when asked to do something else while playing or watching a show.
He learned it from me…
I say it…too much unfortunately. It used to be so I could write…but now it is what is trending on the political front on Twitter or latest coverage from a Primary state or voting day.
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He is learning to buy some more time and be selfish like his mother, instead of doing what needs to be done.
I admit it. I own it.
But as this election  grows closer to November, I may become fanatical.
I am pretty sure,(this being the first real election year of a social media onslaught during an election), is not helping. The media is almost controlling (we already know owning) the whole process of what we read or don’t read, which fires me up even more… and yet other people like myself are also ignoring their children or partners or pets for one more update or post one more comment/video/tweet to support their candidate.
We are like minded.
Crazy or obsessed or fanatical.
But we believe in something.
We believe this is our first time to really have a voice in the political process. That we can tweet to some guy in Iowa or Nebraska about what is going on in his town when the candidates were there,( or maybe even tweet with voters abroad, or get statistics on polling or percentages) is just an amazing historical political accomplishment.
We believe that social media may be controlling our opinions and thoughts or complaints, but without them, we lose our ability to try…to try to speak our minds.
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Try to be patriotic.
Try to salvage what is left of this beautiful country.
With that, I am done jotting notes in my phone for now, so I can get up super early and do a quick social media scan of all things political and not have to ignore my kids at breakfast.

Moving On.

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Moving On.

I am not perfect.

I hold grudges.

I pout.

I even have had my share of temper tantrums.

I have had more battles and bickered with friends and family over my lifetime than I can remember.

But I also love.

I love too much sometimes. I dive deep into relationships and friendships, and that must muddle things a bit over time, I guess…

I don’t know…

Life is hard enough. I cannot muddle things anymore.

I thought I was learning that lesson a lot in the past year.

Life and death are the truest lessons of this.

Nothing is more bone chilling than death and dying to put things into perspective for a person.

Then you have the beauty of life to give balance to the loss or death of loved ones…

New babies, new loves, new life.

These are the moments that make me stop and realize…

Cut the crap out…it’s time to grow up.

No more bickering with my sisters as if we were still in high school and fighting over the mirror in the bathroom, or over clothes or remote controls. No more getting in to each other’s business and cutting a wedge so deep between us, that the gap is still not fully repaired.

No more saying what I feel like saying, whether it hurts someone or not, because I was an angry selfish teenager and young adult who hated her parents and life in general. Or as a mother or wife or friend who is miserable because she hasn’t fulfilled her dreams and passions, so she will take it out on everyone else around her…

I cannot be her anymore…time to move on.

I am not perfect.

I still make some of those mistakes as a middle aged mother/wife/sister/daughter…and friend.

I say too much. Or at least I used to. I needed a wake up call…you would have thought all the challenges over the past year would be enough…

The lightbulb went on many times, (or maybe I should say someone was flicking the light switch and on and off to test the circuits) trying to get me to realize all the anger, jealousy and hate was not necessary or needed…but I wasn’t paying attention.

That lightbulb was shining bright about a week ago when I saw an old friend and realized how foolish I can be.

It was almost two years since we spoke…over dumb stuff…that didn’t seem so dumb at the time. And we just let it all go…just like that. After building on a friendship for over eleven years, it was over.

I say it all the time, I believe everything happens for a reason…not sure why that all happened, but I guess it needed to…we needed time apart to figure life out.

Yet I found myself sobbing on my old friend’s shoulder (in public at a local benefit after too many cheap beers), apologizing and laughing and crying as if nothing had ever happened between us…

And letting go…

Of anger, temper tantrums, pouting, jealousy, and sadness…

I won’t say too much anymore to deliberately hurt someone because of my own misery…not because I have nothing to say, but what value is there on being opinionated or bossy or just a plain old jerk?

I am painting myself out to be a pretty big bitch right now, and I am actually a pretty nice person…just a lot on my brain and heaviness in my heart.

Such a weight lifted off my heavy heart…

Things may never be exactly as they were with me and my old friend, but it is so refreshing to know if we see each other, the tension won’t be there anymore… just smiles, and hugs and love and support.

And in another sense,( Moving On being my title for this blog), I need to move on from other relationships…ones that I have tried for most of my adult life to keep afloat, and they just keep drifting away. I think those relationships are safe to say, “Bon Voyage” and wish them well on their journey to their next chapter in life…

Without me in it.

I have written of these relationships before because I have an inner struggle with truly and completely let it go. Not sure if it is from guilt or just wanting to give it one more try, or because I am a glutton for punishment…or maybe it is because I am too nice and let people walk all over me…

Whatever the reason, I need to let it go as well…

I need to stick to my guns, and lift the anchor, and let that ship sail…no guilt or anger at myself…just peace knowing I tried. And tried some more…

And focus on the people who have always been in my life, even after returning from a mini vacation from our friendship, or those who were not sure of whether they should stay or go, but wind up staying by my side…these people help define me. They tell me to cut the crap…

The imperfect mother/wife/sister/daughter…and friend. The woman who vents on a blog to the world about big things and little things.

I don’t know if I am tired and getting old, but venting on a blog is about all I can manage anymore…fighting is for the birds…I have more important things to do like being a better wife/daughter/sister/mother and friend…

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And moving on…

 

Back to The Plantains.

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Back to The Plantains.

So I really thought I was fooling myself. I even tried to mentally to lie to myself this morning when I stepped off of the scale. It was thirteen NOT ten or eleven or even twelve…it was a whopping thirteen pounds that I have gained over the past several months.

I have fooled myself into thinking one chip or cracker or treat over the holiday was okay. Which then made it okay for two or three more treats.

It amounted to many little pieces of candy after Halloween. And handfuls of chips and gooey dip over Thanksgiving. AND pie. I enjoyed myself thoroughly. All this cheating I swore I would never do again. But I did.

Until my pants were getting tighter, and my stomach began to bloat like I was six months pregnant. My skin is covered in dry scaly patches and my hair…well it is back to thin scraggly nothingness.

I am disappointed and depressed. In myself. It is all my fault.

I began stress eating over the summer after countless hours and days visiting my ailing Father-in-law in the hospital and helping my mother-in-law at their home. By no means am I blaming them. I blame myself for using the excuse of quick cafeteria bites and on-the-go burgers, and caving in here and there because I just didn’t have the time or mental capacity to care what I was eating. I own the fact that I turned the cheek to a salad bar and chose “protein” by means of crispy crunchy chicken tenders. Or gluten free breads/pastas/pizza crusts.

These foods are not my friends…clean eating is. It is probably for all of us, but my body responded so well to it. I felt great, had more energy, my skin was healing…so the self-sabotage is even more upsetting to me. Especially after I begged my Father-in-law to seek healing through nutrition, and then I shamefully chose to give up on my own journey of healing.

Today I seek my happy place again. I am looking for healing again. A healthy gut and healthy mind. To stay focused and teach my family to eat well. Maybe not to the extreme I need to, but enough for them to be well and feel great.

I enjoyed my gluten free pizza crusts the most…but then the regular cheese and sauces just added to mission of letting go of my health.

My plantain pizzas took some getting used to. And they will again. After indulging, it is time to get real. I owe it to myself and my body and my family to find my wellness again.

Christmas will be challenging, in many ways. It will be our first Christmas without my Father-in-law who loved all things Christmas and we shared it with them every year. I cannot cave into stressful eating. I cannot let parties where treats are served up with loads of sugar and fat and calories, make me cheat. I need to be strong for my husband and children and my family, and especially for my Father-in-law who believed in me…

Back to the plantains.

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Fears & Tears.

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Fears & Tears.

I haven’t cried that hard in almost two months…and rightfully so when we had to say goodbye to my husband’s father…a man who loved me like one of his own. We all have shed a few tears or had utter meltdowns since that day, but last night…was rough.

It wasn’t about my Father-in-law…or maybe it has something to do with it. The crying, sadness, occasional fighting over the “why’s” and feeling lost at random moments, have added a new layer of stress to life…stress that cannot even be compared to what my Mother-in-law must be facing…

So last night.

I am sharing/writing this in hopes of maybe figuring this out or seeking help, and also to cleanse my soul.

Our son.

He is beautiful. He is brilliant. He is funny. He is tough.

But not last night.

Over the course of this month he has spiraled into one gigantic hot mess.

He was soooo excited when I took the Halloween decorations out at the beginning of October. He didn’t like some of them, but moved on.

We went out over the next few weeks to the drug store, or dollar store, or even a grocery store and Halloween was everywhere. “I don’t like dat” was his first comment when he saw some scary things.

Fast forward to yesterday in K-Mart, he sat in the cart, covered his face the ENTIRE time we were in the store, even after many attempts to reassure him we were far away from the scary stuff…He did peek at Christmas things, and then went right back to hiding.

We no longer can go into one of his favorite stores after he froze with sheer fear and panic at skeletons hanging from the ceiling.

AND to top all these very long, confusing, frustrating and very heartbreaking outings…there was last night.

We decided to forget cooking after a long week already, (and it was only Wednesday), and take the kids to a bar/restaurant that we haven’t gone to in a while.

A nice friendly Irish family restaurant in town…that had a few Halloween decorations as you entered the building.

PANIC. TREMBLING. SWEATING. CRYING. YELLING. FEAR.

Our son froze…our two daughters were shocked at his behavior but quickly stepped in to help coax him out of it with toys and coloring and even some French fries…

Nothing…

We contemplated leaving.

But what about the two kids inside who were so excited to go out to eat? And a flabbergasted husband who hasn’t seen this side of his son to this extreme…

I took him into the car, to cool himself and myself off((him-literally. Me-figuratively). He had been clutching me for about ten minutes and shaking and dripping with sweat.

When we returned, people from the bar came over to offer help and give him  lollipop or be funny…nothing worked.

We decided that the majority had to eat, as it was getting late, so we asked to move our table(we had been seated near the entrance and could see some of the decorations…and the waitress even took one down for him that looked the scariest) and quickly finish our meal. Our son refused to remove his body from mine and refused to remove his hand from his eyes and refused to eat or drink. He sat there for another twenty minutes, sweating and shaking…I tried to quietly tell him of all the things around him ( a window, a ketchup bottle, his napkin, his sister across from him)so there were no surprises when he chose to look around.

He refused.

We got him out to the car finally after my husband and girls quickly ate their meals.

He was fine…perfectly fine.

Once he was buckled in his car seat and we started for home, he exclaimed he wanted “Zert”. He cannot go to bed without dessert every night. We sighed and said ok, but you have to eat your dinner first  (that was kindly packed up by our very flustered waitress), and he said “ok, I am so, so hungry!”….

I couldn’t help myself.

Maybe it was because I was hungry, or had a cocktail before we had left the house for dinner…but I cried like a baby last night.

I acted like I was ok, and ran up to my room and sobbed.

Is this normal? Did we, as parents, fail him and not do the right thing? Should we have left immediately without trying to figure out what was wrong? Is there something wrong with him?

Or is just our beautiful, brilliant, funny, tough AND overly sensitive?

I am beginning to think maybe not.

I DO NOT want a label on my child. I do NOT want to pump him with drugs. I want to know if we are missing something, and maybe we DO need to be more sensitive towards his fears…I felt as if that was one of the first check marks on his list of moments that molded him forever, and will never forget it…

I feel like I failed our son.

But now as I write this I feel some relief knowing that someone might say, “he is fine” or “call the doctor”. NOW.

We have a Tot time Halloween party this morning.

My stomach aches to think of what may or may not happen. Last year, we had to leave before it even started.

Do I hide under his rock with him until Halloween decorations come down, and Thanksgiving one’s go up?

I am at a loss. My girls were fearful of all things scary when they were younger, but nothing like this…no way near this.

Trick Or Treating? I really don’t think so.

My kids told him he can use his Captain America shield to hide from the bad stuff so we can still go out…I am just not sure that will happen…but maybe we try? Or will that scar him even more?

He is our baby. I just don’t want  to do any more harm than good…

I want to be his shield of all things good and evil.

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My sweet baby boy.

The Choice.

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The Choice.

Warning…many will take offense. Some will hate me. Or pretend they do not know me anymore. Some will even pity me…

That is THEIR choice.

It was about ninety degrees on June 1, 1991. It felt like 110 in the shade as I lay on the steaming hot pavement in my own vomit…retching. Sobbing.

I will never forget this day…ever.

It was a few weeks before I was barely about to graduate high school. I had just fooled them all at my senior prom. I could have kept up the facade for a little longer…but I didn’t have a choice, I was told this was the only way out…

As an adult now, I realize I did have a choice.

But when you run away from home, or get kicked out and are reliant on others…you feel like you have no choice.

I woke up on the table after being sedated, in the midst of it all…the loud noise, the lights, the people hovering over me.

I believe that is the moment that haunts me the most…waking, even groggy still from sedation, knowing what was happening. More so than the cowardly way I slumped in my chair in the waiting room before it began…wondering if the others were feeling the same way as me.

I cried myself to sleep in the back of the car, begging for fresh air to cool my face, covered in dried vomit and tears.

Somehow I managed to make it to my bed, and awakened hours later…pain so bad I could tear my own heart out…not physical pain so much, but because it was my heart that was aching…

And the empty feeling in my belly. I clawed at my stomach screaming to make this madness stop. To undo what had happened.

Next thing, I am given a Valium…out cold again.

I was in a dark place mentally back then…before this all happened.

It was literally my first time…and then I was pregnant. A senior in high school. An aspiring fashion designer. A child who just wanted her divorced parents’ love and for them to stop fighting.

Well, this got their attention alright. They found out a while later…they shed no tears for me…just more anger and pain. I was ashamed. I kept my story to myself… I was absolved of my sin by a priest after my family found out. Time to forget it forever…put it behind me.

SHAME.

I live with this every second of every day.

I couldn’t put it behind me. Even as life moved on.

But in no way shape or form, did life fill the void in my belly...in my heart.

Did I want a child at eighteen? No…I had no clue what I would have done. But there is not one day since June 1, 1991 that I do not think of him…I know in my heart it was a boy.

I swore God would never allow me to be happy again…my Catholic guilt growing larger everyday.

God was good enough to let me heal enough to graduate and temporarily mend things with my family…but I knew that he would punish me. The little girl in me said I would never be a mommy because of what I did that day.

Almost five years later, I was granted a gift. After almost losing my baby and  my life during my pregnancy, God gave us a beautiful baby girl…I lost an ovary through it all, but I felt like I had truly been absolved…that there was a God and that I had to suffer a little to finally appreciate what I had.

And I did. Life was challenging then, but I had this beautiful baby and thought I would never have any more after losing an ovary and all that my body went through to deliver her safely. And yet I was given a second chance… 

I had to embrace it.

Three more amazingly beautiful children later and almost nineteen years of a happy marriage with a husband who has heard this all and held me as I cried over and over, and I feel like God forgave me…but why am I still not forgiving myself? Is it that Catholic guilt or shame? Or simply because it truly wasn’t my choice?

I cringe everytime I read an article on this topic. I cry. I mourn. I had a choice. Maybe I made the wrong one, but my life would be very different today if I had fought back and said to them that  I had a choice in the matter.

He didn’t love me…and I didn’t love him.

Yes I was a fool…but I was just looking for love after years of being lost and made a terrible mistake.

I will never tell anyone to rid the world of abortion… There. I said it.

Abortion.

It is an ugly word. Our world has made it ugly.

But what about that girl who is raped or molested?

What about the girl like me?

What would I have done?

I would have been sent packing to live on the streets pregnant and alone…fearful of what my very catholic family would say…or maybe worse…maybe I would have killed myself or attempted to from the deep depression and shame that was setting in.

Or maybe turn to adoption…but that was never an option for some reason and I was too naive to think these things through as an eighteen year old fighting the world and everyone in it.

Do I believe that maybe I could have beaten the odds?

Found the strength to fight back and keep my child?

Found a way to finish school and pursue my dreams as an artist?

Make it work?

Hell yeah…I thought that an hour ago, and last week, or last summer when I almost had a nervous breakdown about the lie I have lived with for so long.

I know girls that did beat the odds and persevered alone with their child…yes, they have struggled to make ends meet and finish school and find love again while raising a child alone…

Some will say I gave up too easily.

Shame on me.

But even more shame for hiding it…it is part of who I am…he was part of me and will forever be my fifth child…my first. I ache for him, as any mother would over a child lost…even more so when I see how cruel life can be and take our loved ones away in an instant.

So why voluntarily do it?

My eighteen year old self said she did it because it was the only way out and because they told her to.

My Forty-something year old self says it was the shame and guilt that the scared girl couldn’t bare to face.

She did though. Faced all of it…

Took countless blows to the chin, and then when the dust settled, tucked her dirty little secret away…until now.

We all have choices in this life…and we have to live with the consquences each and everyday.

I feel that hot pavement from that day on my face twenty-four years ago like I  am living that moment now…it was a choice…one that will follow me like a dark cloud till the day I die.

Judge me, hate me, pray for me.

Do whatever you like. But I will not lie or hide this part of me anymore. My older girls know my story now. As a lesson to make better choices…but no one should make those choices for you…no one.

Today I honor the love that I lost, and all that I have gained…most importantly…

Truth.

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I smile today…I am owning this. My first ever tattoo…proudly wearing a badge forever of all my babies…four born, one lost, and one gained.

Hugs.

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Hugs.

I am a Mother of six.

I carried five, gave birth to four, and love one unconditionally as one of my own.

I am not perfect. 

I am, on most days, a scarred and bitter person. I can hide it well…sometimes.

But on this very day, all that matters, is that I am a Mother.

I feel urged to write this to a younger confused generation, with too much information at their fingertips, not enough social interactions, and way too many emotions pent up that seem to bring anger and resentment to the world around them…

And not enough hugs.

We had dinner the other night with some family, and ended it with me bringing up the “Twenty Second Rule” of hugs…which gloriously ended in enough hugs to make all of us leave the restaurant with content bellies and warm hearts with big smiles on our faces…

Because it works.

But is not happening enough anymore in our world…we are all guilty of too much “me” time…maybe grabbing some extra Facebook time, or binging on a favorite t.v. series, or spa and gym days…

Don’t get me wrong, these are all essential for us to stay mentally healthy and balanced within ourselves…but some days, we may overlook something…our duties as parents…we need to put our needs aside for even just twenty seconds…

I challenge you…PLEASE…go to your child right now and tap them on the shoulder, as they are staring at a cellphone, t.v. or laptop screen….and jolt them out of this…

Tell them you need to talk. As they rise to go to talk with you, take them in your arms and hold them…for twenty seconds…or more…then tell them you are sorry…that no job, or t.v. show or phone call is more important than this…holding this child in your arms and remembering all those moments that brought you here…tell them you love them, and that they can tell you anything, no matter what…

Mothers…we come in all shapes and sizes, colors, genders and no matter what..our babies need us. Our duty is to them right now, and forever…

Today is a day for our children to celebrate us, but without them, there would be nothing to celebrate…So grab your babies/toddlers/teens/grown children/fur babies and tell them you love them and start squeezing.

Twenty second hugs are good enough.

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