Goodbye too soon

It’s Thanksgiving. A day to be thankful for family, friends, good food, and life’s blessings. I am thankful for what I have been given. I have an amazing husband, beautiful children, that are all healthy, strong, bright, and of course gorgeous. But there is a whole in my heart today, just like many days. Today it seems to be on fire. Today was my fathers favorite day. He wont be here today though. He will be sitting at God’s table, eating a feast like he had never even dreamt about. He left in March and everyday it still feels like it was yesterday.

Today he would have been up dawn working on a turkey that would be done way before dinner time. He would have had me tasting his stuffing, mushrooms and all. “Oh come on Sis, you can’t even taste them.” He wanted me to love them. If I could I would sit and entire plate of mushrooms with him, just to have the chance to see him again. His mashed potatoes would be lumpy. I still do that. I make them lumpy on purpose, no slimy potatoes for us. they need to have a little texture and a lot of black pepper and even more butter. He never had a potato peeler either. He used a little paring knife. He would sit in front of the T.V. with two bowls, his potatoes, and his little knife. Nothing but the stuffing, turkey, and mashed potatoes mattered to him. the rest was up to everyone else, but those were his. and the gravy ūüôā I hated gravy too. That was another “Just taste it” every year then it was “Oh you don’t what’s good.”

The man loved good food. Maybe too much they say. If he ate better he would still be here with us. But I keep thinking, he ate great food. He laughed when he cooked, he was happy when he cooked, he loved to be in the kitchen. He may have lived longer if he ate better, but would he have been happy? He used to say “You have to die from something.” I think he wanted his to be from good food and great beer.

I miss him today more than usual, but I know he’s there. I will hear him every time I baste the turkey, (which must be done every thirty minutes) every time I taste the stuffing, every potato I peel. I will know that he is there with me. I know he will laugh at my children, I know he will be here. I wish I could make him a plate, but I know his feast will be better than anything I could put on the table. I know he will be happy.

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Dirt. Glorious dirt.

Last night I took my¬†five beautiful, clean children to my nephews baseball game. I say beautiful because like every mother I think my children are THE most gorgeous children in existence…ever. Whether dressed¬†in their Sunday best¬†or running around in a cape and socks, they are adorable. But I will shamelessly admit I put some extra planning into their clothing tonight. They were going to see their Ti-ti. My sister in law is very fashoiny (yes that is a word, as of right now.) She always looks amazing. This is not a bad thing, she is beautiful inside and out. I know deep down she is not judging me or my children. I know she does not love them or I any less if they look like ragamuffins, but I try to make my kiddos look extra cute around her. Tonight I tried to make them look cute, but not like I had tried to. Confusing I know. ¬†

Okay back to the game. The field was the usual, bleachers, bathrooms, concession stands, a huge dirt pile beside the stands. Wait…a huge dirt pile…right there, right next to the bleachers. I look at my children and you can almost feel the excitement radiating off of them. I think my daughter is actually shaking from the surge of adrenalin that just coursed through her little bones. Before I can say “Back in the car!” they are gone. They hit the pile and all of my careful wardrobe planning is gone. ¬†It takes all of two minutes before they are covered head to toe in dirt. As are the poor people who decided to sit in the stands next to said dirt pile. This dirt is not like soil, it is not slightly wet and easy to build with. No this dirt is light and dry and the very slightest wind makes a dirt cloud the size of Texas. Six feet + six hands= about ninety extremities playing in this lovely, filthy dirt. The dust cloud they created was thick enough that I thought for sure the game would be cancelled until we left.

As I sat there mortified and trying to get them out of the dirt, one of the other moms laughs and says “I’m not even watching my own kid play anymore because they are so cute!” My kids are cute? My filthy little ragamuffins are cute. And they really are too. They played in that dirt pile for almost two hours. They laughed, they cried, they slid down on their rear ends. ¬†By the time we left the field I wasn’t sure I was taking the right kids home because I could not see their faces or clothes threw the dirt. It wasn’t until I got them into a shower that I knew they were mine. As I tucked them into bed and kissed their clean little heads I whispered a prayer of thanks. There was a time that I thought I would never have children. Now I have days were I feel like I have 50 and not five and I could not feel more blessed. Okay maybe not in that moment when I am a yelling, snarling, crazy woman, but after that when they are calm and snuggling up on my lap I feel very blessed.¬†

The only thing that would make me feel happier today would be having someone come clean out the bathtub for me. I need a list of supplies to clean out the dirt….shovel, chisel, Drain-o, forklift…..

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A love to last

Sixteen years ago two young people took a huge leap of faith. All they had to hold onto was love and hope.  They had no idea what the future held, except that they were in it together. There was no backing out, no changing their minds. They were heading out into the world side by side, holding hands and grinning like fools.  

Fast forward through the years, past the jobs, the moves, the children, the pets. The same couple is not so young and still has no idea about the future. They still live off of love and hope.  They walk the world holding hands, sometime each others and sometimes with a couple little hands in between.  The grins on their faces have added a couple wrinkles and the children have added a few strands of grey to their hair.  

Their love and friendship is stronger than ever.  There really is no turning back, no changing their minds. Their souls have grown so entwined that to separate them would surly kill them. Their bodies have become molded to fit the others perfectly whether embracing in a hug or sleeping through the night. Their need for one another was greater than the need to eat or breath. They could survive separated for short times, but only with the promise that soon they would dance together again. They have true love. Not a storybook romance. Not a love to put on display when others are looking. Not a get through the years until the kids are out of the house love. It is true love. The kind that happens once in a lifetime. The kind that leaves those around them filled with hope. The kind that makes one believe in past lives and souls wandering the earth looking for their mate.

What makes their love so strong? Their need for another so great? Their friendship. They are best friends. When they need to share a funny story, they share it with one another. When sadness rips through their hearts, they cry together. When the small joys in life are experienced, their souls are experiencing them together.  Before the marriage, before the children, before the trials of life set in, they were best friends. This is the basis of their marriage. This is their foundation. This is where they put their love and hope. 

There is no such thing as perfect love, but I am as close to it as one can get. I get to be married to my best friend, my soul mate, my everything. I grin like a fool, I giggle like a school girl, I get butterflies in my belly when I see him. I am in love. 

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Pretty, pretty princess

This weekend I had the opportunity to get gussied up and accompany my husband to an Army ball. I have been planning for months what I would wear, how I would do my make up, exactly what my hair would look like, ect. My hubby had it easier. The army is so wonderful when they say you will wear this uniform with these things on it. He still hates it. He hates to get dressed up and do the whole dog and pony show, but he did it. He dressed up and took me, his princess, to the ball.

As I was getting ready the panic started. I am no lady. I am a mommy. I wear sneakers not heels, I am usually covered in food and finger paint not ¬†make up. A curling iron? I haven’t touched one since my sister¬†curled my hair for my moms wedding about 12 years ago! I don’t know how to get gussied up. All my careful planning and preparation, all the body scrubs, and shavings, and lotions and face masks and I still had no idea what the hell I was doing.¬†

Then¬†I looked at my handsome husband. I looked at him and while he took my breath away I started to breath again. I wasn’t getting gussied up for the ball, I was doing this for him. He loves me everyday with out the make up, without the dress, with hairy legs and food on my shirt. I turned back around looked in the mirror and laughed at myself. I did¬†a quick five minute make up application, pulled my curly locks to the side and slipped on my dress. Then he asked to take my picture, he told me I was beautiful, kissed my cheek, and slapped my rear.¬†

For the rest of the night I was beautiful. But not because of my dress or my hair, I was beautiful because I spent the night telling others how amazing they looked. I put my best feature forward. My heart. My goal changed from wanting people to remember how I looked to trying to making them remember how I made them feel. I wasn’t perfect, but I tried my damnedest and my night was glorious. I got to get gussied up and be my knights princess. ¬†

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From Wonder woman to Suzie Homemaker.

As I was preparing dinner the other night I needed a jar opened. It was same brand of spaghetti sauce I have used for years and have opened a gazillion times on my own. But instead of popping it open I handed it to my hubby and in my sweetest , most girly voice asked for him to open it. Stay with me…my husband is a soldier. There have been years when he was gone more than he was home. He has missed Christmas’, birthdays, anniversaries, and so on. I have opened more jars on my own than he has ever opened for me. So why did I hand this one to him? Because he needs to feel needed.¬†

As a military wife I have to be independent. I have to learn to be a single/ married mom of five children. I have to be able to balance sports, activities, house hold chores, discipline, and doctors appointments all with very little sleep. Side note here: I do not sleep while my hubby is gone. I toss and turn and here every little sound. The best nights sleep of my life is always the first night he is home after being gone. This is my life. I chose it. I knew when I married my best friend that we were both signing the contract. I knew I would be working for my country’s freedom too.¬†

What I did not know was how my independence would effect my husband. I did not know that while he was away he would feel secure that his family was taken care of. That he could focus on his job and keeps his troops safe because he did not have to worry about things falling apart on the home front. What a great wife I must be! He can do his job and I can do mine and we both succeed! But what happens when his high adrenaline job is done and he comes home.

I am independent now. We have a routine and schedules. I open jars, I run a million errands, and manage everything. He gets to sit back and relax and just be. Annnnd now he feels useless. What a crap wife I must be. So how do I make him fit back in? How do I make him feel welcome? When he comes home I hand him jars, I snore and drool on his chest, he fixes all the little broken things. He becomes the man of the house again and I step back into my role of happily married dependent mom and wife. I breath, I laugh, I swap my cape for my apron.  At least until the next time the country needs me. 

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Bathroom break

My blood boiled a little today. I read a post that said “If you need to “get away” from your children, then you probably shouldn’t have any.” ¬†I have five children. Yes five. And every single day there is a moment when I need to get away from them. Not because I don’t love them, not because I don’t want to be around them, but because I am still a human. I still have needs.

Today’s mothers are riddled with guilt. You are a horrible mother if you work. You are a horrible mother if you do not work. You are killing your kids if you get them immunizations. You are killing them if you do not get them immunizations. Only feed them organic food or you are poisoning them. Only giving them organic food lowers their natural immune system. You see where I’m going with this. Everything we do is wrong in someones eyes. No matter how much you research, no matter how many old wives tales you follow, no matter how much you follow your heart, your choices will never be good enough. ¬†Not for your children, not for society, not for other moms and never for yourself.

The post I referenced earlier was made by a non mother. Someone who has never had a child whining at her feet the entire day because she left her favorite stuffy at grandmas house an hour away. She has never held her child while he throws up on her for the fifth time in an hour. She’s never cleaned up the same box of split toys a dozen times. She has never told her child over and over and over and over they may not have a cookie because they refused to eat their dinner. How do I know she is a non mother? I know because she said¬†“If you need to “get away” from your children, then you probably shouldn’t have any.” ¬†

There is not a mother on this planet, (yes I said not one and I will stand by that) that does not need a break from time to time. A moment to refresh, to regroup, to breath. A few minutes to refocus. Maybe it’s five minutes in the bathroom, maybe it’s a trip to the store for milk, maybe it’s a weekend alone, but we all need a break. (I truly believe that animals in the wild eat their young because they do not get these breaks.)¬†

I am not a perfect mother, but I try everyday to do the best I can. No one can make me feel as guilty about the choices I make for my family as I can. Every night before bed I reflect on all the ways I probably screwed up my children that day. (You might laugh, but there have really been those nights.) Just recently I started thinking about all the ways I may have enriched their lives that day. I gave my son the freedom to choose the blue shirt with the large spot where I forgot to take the sticker off before washing it, over the perfectly new green one, my daughter learned how to write her name, and my son discovered how to cook popcorn without the microwave. Guess what…they are happy. All five of my immunized, non organic eating, partially breastfed children, are happy. They are healthy, they know they are loved, and they love those around them. They are also loud, at times whiny, and always into everything.¬†

One day my mommy guilt may go away, but for now I think it makes me a better mother. ¬†Now if you’ll excuse me they are sticking their fingers under the bathroom door. Break over.

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Good enough for me.

New Year. So much promise, so inspiring. You start out with great goals; better diet, exercise, saving money. You awaken to the sun on your face and a bright new shining day. You can do this. You can change.

But what if you can’t? What if you don’t really want to? What if…you actually like yourself the way you are? Not many people feel this way. Society has confused us. In one headline it’s “How to love yourself.” Then taking up just as much room on the same magazine cover it’s “Loose ten pounds in ten days.” How are we supposed to teach acceptance and unconditional love if everywhere we look there are conditions?

I have struggled with this for as long as I can remember. I love me, but I don’t love the way I am. If that makes any sense. I have a short fuse, am terribly insecure, can’t save a penny to save my life, and cooking…well no one has died. No matter how often I tell myself “you’re beautiful” or how many deep breaths I take some things never change. Maybe it’s time to stop trying to change and embrace the Goddess I have become.

Yes, I said it, Goddess. Maybe I am enough. I have friends, people who go out of their way to be around me. Folks that laugh at my jokes, trust me enough to cry, and confine in me. ¬†I actually have folks who look to me for advice. Now granted I have five children and 16 years of teaching experience, but they still come to ME. Maybe I am doing something right. ¬†Maybe if I am enough for those around me, I can be enough for…me.

Maybe a couple changes here and there…*sigh*. There will always be maybe if I…but instead of thinking “maybe if I change this or that” we can say “maybe if I improve on this or that.” Improvement, going to make this the “it” word for 2014.

If you read to this line, thank you. This is my first venture into blogging. I am not an English teacher or major. My grammar is off and my sentences cut short. I like them like that. But you stuck with me. Hopefully as I blog more you will watch my improvement first hand.


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