You Say It’s Your Birthday?

IMG_5185
No, YOUR child’s birthday is exactly eleven days away and you have made exactly ZERO plans to celebrate it.
 
This isn’t a call for help with ideas on how to celebrate. Captain Sassypants has had a new idea every week since before Christmas on how she’d like to celebrate, which may in fact be why we have no confirmed plans at this late stage. I’m not sure what’s gone wrong this year, because in previous years, I’ve had this birthday party thing totally wrapped up at this point. I’ve been a master-planner in the celebration department for the six years we’ve celebrated her birthdays, and each one has been a blast, if I do say so myself. Maybe that’s the problem. Perhaps I’m suffering some sort of party-fatigue brought on by my own obsessive need to outdo myself every year to give her a dreamy party she’ll never forget. Only to find out that by the time her next birthday rolls around, it’s me who is reminding her what she did last year and all the other years too. I know she’s just a normal kid, but it broke my heart that I had to remind her how three years ago, we took her to Disney for five days and did the whole “Bippity Boppity Boutique” experience and dinner with Cinderella on her birthday. I mean seriously – don’t the price tags of these things guarantee indelible inscription in their little memory banks?
So this year I’ve sort of given up. We’ve discussed so many different options; originally we were going to do New York City for her birthday weekend, but that fell through for a few reasons. Then we discussed a movie party to see the long-awaited live-action version of “Jungle Book” coming out, but I hate having to wait until the week before to confirm the exact show time. Yeah, I know. There was a brief excitement over laser tag, until we found out that the kids need to be a certain height and weight to comfortably carry the backpacks required. This eliminated about half of her friends who somehow don’t seem to be growing quite as quickly as she is. Each idea had some negative aspect or two that cause their elimination, until now we really aren’t considering very many options and I’m feeling like a play date party at our house just pales compared to the rainbow of bashes we’ve thrown for the past six years. Don’t worry, I’m getting over myself as you read this.
I’m trying new approaches to life this year, and *winging it* has never really been something I’ve embraced in adulthood, so I could simply say that’s what I’m doing now and sound very goal-oriented, right? Except I’d be lying. I’ve simply lost my ambition to create “memorable” kids’ parties that cost a fortune and end up making me painfully aware of how we spoil our kids. We stopped doing birthday parties for my stepson when he was ten and offered instead “experiences” like horseback riding. I tried this approach with Baby Girl this year, despite her only turning eight, and initially she liked the idea, but being the social butterfly that she is, quickly cast suggested experiences aside for group activities with her friends.
Part of me is really ok with my lack of motivation regarding this important milestone, but there is a sliver of hope because I do recognize something needs to be done really soon or I’ll risk utter disappointment from the star of my life. I’d call it a mom-fail, if I believed in such terminology. Instead, I’m going to classify it as a “Mom-exercising-last-minute-creativity-challenge” and get my ass in gear. Tomorrow. Possibly.
birthday

On #InternationalWomensDay – Be You, Because You ARE Strong

Happy International Women’s Day!

You might be surprised to know that history records the first International Women’s Day as far back as 1911! Women have been fighting a loooooonnnnnnnggggg time for equality, and will continue to do so. I hate this fact, but to avoid dwelling on the negative, I will take pleasure in seeing how far we’ve come! Keep up the fantastic work, my sisters!

I’m seeing so many quotes and memes on social media today about women, and I’ve observed many of these quotes and memes focus on the word STRONG. Why is that?

Even my personal favorite: “Strong women: May we know them, may we raise them, may we be them.” urges us that being strong is the ultimate goal. Yet, I can’t help but wonder if this battle-cry is being interpreted the same way across the board.

Naturally, the physical sense of the word is a positive goal. Being physically strong isn’t just about how many pounds you can bench-press, but about being healthy. Everyone wants health for themselves and those they care about, right?

But what about being strong in other ways? How do we define that? And what about the women who don’t exude the “traditional” traits of “strength”? I use quotation marks simply because these words are so open to interpretation.

I worry that International Women’s Day is moving towards a different meaning – a celebration of society’s perceived “best of the best” so to speak. That’s not what it’s about.

The woman who doesn’t run marathons for herself or charity can still be strong simply running after her toddler at the park. Or watching Netflix marathons on TV.

The woman who doesn’t own a financially successful business or have a high-powered career can still be strong owning the responsibility to feed her children by working hard at her minimum-wage job.

That woman who doesn’t prepare kale-qinoa-chia seed-avocado crust-less pie to feed her family can still be strong asking her kids to set the table and put the ketchup and plum sauce out for the frozen chicken fingers with tater-tots her family will devour with enthusiasm.

That woman who never declares loudly “Fuck that shit!” can still be strong when she sobs into her pillow because someone hurt her feelings.

That woman who can’t be Ms. Independent-I-Can-Do-It-All-Myself can still be strong when she asks friends or family for physical or emotional support.

That woman who doesn’t kick that asshole partner’s ass to the curb can still be strong when she stays in a seemingly unsatisfying relationship for complex reasons that nobody but her really understands.

That woman who doesn’t proudly don her swimsuit while ignoring her obesity can still be strong when she avoids pools and the beach.

Nobody defines “STRONG” for everybody.

As far as I’m concerned, anyone who opens their eyes and confronts the challenges of life each day is strong, and even those who open their eyes but then decides to close them, stay in bed and avoid the world are still strong in making the decision to do just that.

If you are human and trying to live your life as best you can – you are strong.

Should women be equal with men? Youbetcha.

Should women stop being human to try to fit into someone else’s definition of “strong”?

I think you know my answer to that question.

Be you. That’s strong enough.

 

Some Better Ideas Than #NoHairSelfie for #WorldCancerDay

Smith and Sam

 

Oh sure, it looked romantic and amazingly supportive when Samantha’s hunky boyfriend Smith Jerrod did it on Sex and the City, but shaving your head, or worse – simply plugging a photo of your mug into the #NoHairSelfie app that photo-shops a bald version of you – isn’t really showing support for cancer patients, in my opinion. Unless your spouse or dear friend or child has expressed consent in such a personal statement, you are running the risk of offending cancer patients and survivors, like this courageous woman who just recently lost her hair. I’m not speaking for all cancer patients and I do see some of the merits in actually shaving your head for a spouse, child or close friend, to make them feel less unique in their appearance or to encourage people to donate money. I just find a mass movement of strangers trying on baldness with an electronic app really minimizes the painful layers of what losing your hair via chemotherapy feels like, both physically and emotionally.  It has rankled me from the first moment I heard of it. Why do I feel I’m entitled to even have an opinion on this movement and its impact on cancer patients and survivors?

Because I am one.

At the age of four, I had emergency surgery after a fall from a swing left me with overwhelming pain. The doctors assumed I had ruptured my spleen, but instead found a kidney busted open with a previously-undiagnosed cancerous tumour that had burst on impact after my fall. My kidney was destroyed and needed removal, and in the words of the doctor who finally told my parents why they had been waiting for hours – I was a very sick little girl. Subsequent radiation treatments and chemotherapy followed, to ensure stray cancer cells that were released when the tumour burst didn’t quietly take up residence elsewhere in my body. I don’t remember much about the radiation part (except the legacy of infertility it left me) but I have vivid memories of the chemotherapy; of how the drug would wind through the IV tube and as soon as it entered my body, I would begin vomiting and wouldn’t stop for most of the day. Chemotherapy isn’t just poison for the cancer, after all.

Fresh Outta Nephrectomy Surgery

Fresh Outta Nephrectomy Surgery

One of my most painful set of memories of this time revolve around the loss of my hair. In today’s medical advancements, some cancer patients are lucky enough to avoid complete hair loss, but back then, hardly anyone escaped it; even four year old little girls. My mom woke me one morning and found almost my entire head of hair over my pillowcase. It had happened overnight while I slept and I still recall her trying so valiantly to be brave for my benefit, yet failing and crying in front of me. Now that I have a young daughter of my own, I cannot fathom how my mom got through all of the treatments and crying (mine and hers) and needles and vomit and worry. She deserves a medal, for sure. Also at that time (1975) wigs were not much of widespread  fashion statement and were in scarce supply. My parents had me fitted for an old-lady wig that resembled the hairstyle Maude sported, minus the style. Suffice to say, wearing a wig at that age was no easy task and led to other painful situations of kids teasing me and even threatening to take my wig from my head.

Yeah, I WISH they had taken this wig. And burned it.

Yeah, I WISH they had taken this wig. And burned it.

Eventually my hair grew back and life went on, but those childhood experiences changed me in innumerable ways. I still have very strong reactions to seeing children who are wearing scarves around their heads, and I can’t watch any movies or TV programs where children are terminally ill. So when I saw the campaign for #NoHairSelfie and some people on social media proudly posting photos of themselves smiling with their hair electronically removed by an app, or urging their readers and social media followers to “celebrate” World Cancer Day, my reaction was visceral; I cried, I raged inwardly, shouting at them that losing your hair is no reason to grin proudly, and cancer is definitely not anything to “celebrate”.

I get the intentions, I really do. I just don’t think much thought or sensitivity was put into this campaign with respect to how it might make some cancer patients and survivors feel. My overwhelming gut response is a desire to scream at the images of healthy people pretending to be bald “YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT’S LIKE.” And they don’t. An app can’t begin to give you the experience of feeling completely abnormal and a freak of nature when all of your hair suddenly leaves your body. It doesn’t provide the fun of having constant insecurities that everybody knows you’re wearing a wig or that your wig has shifted unnaturally or that it looks fake or doesn’t suit you. All those smiling faces being uploaded into the app? They look healthy and happy. People who have lost their hair to cancer are not healthy and rarely look so. Some may be fighting their damndest to hang on to some of life’s happiness, but rest assured they aren’t happy about losing their hair or having cancer.

Even people who are “brave” enough to actually shave their real heads still aren’t experiencing the full range of physical and emotional traumas that chemotherapy often reduces its victims to. I have far more respect for those who patiently grow out their hair and cut it off to donate for wigs for cancer patients and I am baffled that a prestigious establishment with powerful public engagement such as The Princess Margaret Hospital* wouldn’t see this as a much better campaign to invest their marketing efforts with. Wigs are expensive and real hair for them is not easy to come by, even if you want to donate your own. Hair has to be a specific length and cannot have dyes or chemical treatments in it.

Hair, Returning

Hair, Returning

While I understand the #NoHairSelfie has attracted some worthy attention and awareness for cancer patients with hair loss, I still feel that if you really want to help cancer patients, donate your money, time or supportive kindness. Volunteer, fundraise, or simply make some freezable meals for the cancer patient you know in your life. These are meaningful, helpful actions that have direct impact on those struggling with cancer or survivors who live in fear of relapse, unlike posting a picture of yourself and counting your “likes” using a hashtag originally meant for REAL cancer patients to reach out and support one another. Think about your actions, not just about jumping on the bandwagon because it sounds fun and all your social media friends are doing it.

It’s Word Cancer Day. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the brave fighters currently battling for their life and health, for all the survivors who have won, and for all those who tragically could not overcome this terrible disease.

 

*Please be assured that while I don’t agree with the campaign of baldness, I absolutely support The Princess Margaret Hospital in their efforts to support cancer patients. I was once a patient at the old hospital and have visited the new one, and I know the world-class establishment is full of hard-working and dedicated health professionals who strive to give the best physical and emotional care to every patient they treat.

 

40 Thoughts on Celebrating 40 Years Without Cancer

Today, I celebrate my fortieth birthday.

Well, “re-birth day” is probably a more accurate description.

On June 10, 1975, I fell from a swing in my backyard. I was four years old.

The impact when I hit the ground caused an undiagnosed cancerous tumour growing in my left kidney to burst. I still remember the pain and having to run into my house doubled over from it, trying not to cry out because I didn’t want to disturb my sunbathing neighbour who had fallen asleep on her lounge chair.

The E/R doctors told my parents I had probably ruptured my spleen from the fall.

Boy, were they wrong.

When they operated on me, they found a kidney destroyed by cancer cells, and had to remove it immediately. I had been bleeding internally so much that I needed 24 bags of other people’s blood to replace what I had lost. (Thank-you, blood donors.)

“You have a very sick little girl. She will be lucky if she makes it,” was the first thing the doctor told my parents after they had waited three hours wondering why a ruptured spleen was taking so long to fix.

I guess I was lucky, because I did make it. I thrived. I’ve lived a full life which in my mind, is hopefully not even close to being over yet. I’ve got WAY too much living left to do still. I look at this date in my history as my second chance at life. Oh sure, I was too young then to appreciate it. I was too bitter and resentful wondering “Why me?” when I had to undergo the subsequent radiation treatments and chemotherapy to ensure the elimination of any cancer cells that strayed when the tumour erupted. I didn’t understand why I had to endure more pain and another surgery a few months later when scar tissue adhesions caused a bowel obstruction. I didn’t understand why all my hair fell out on my pillow overnight, or why the kids at school teased me for wearing a wig and tried to play keep-away with it one day. I’ve hated losing my fertility and healthy immune system all these years later, and often have felt so resentful for all of the permanent effects of that one day.

I’m not sure I understand it all even now, but I’ve come to accept that the “whys” of life sometimes have no answers and often don’t matter. The events of June 10, 1975 had a profound effect on my body and my character and it has shaped me in more ways than I probably even recognize.

cancer

I’ve learned a few things along this crazy forty-year roller coaster.

At the risk of sounding like I’m auditioning for the role of meme-creator, here are some of the more significant ones:

  1. Life is an amazing journey – sometimes it’s amazingly awesome, and other times it’s amazingly shitty, but those shitty times help me to truly appreciate the rest of it.
  2. I don’t have to be a superstar to matter. I used to worry that because I have survived so many trying times in life, I should really be doing something “spectacular” with myself. It’s only recently that I realized I am doing just that – I’m a great mother and stepmom, a good wife, a decent writer, a supportive friend and I love being all of those things. That. Is. Spectacular. Enough.
  3. My body is not something I need to use to impress anyone. I am still working hard to accept the parts of my body that I don’t love, but I’m much better at that acceptance now than I was twenty years ago. Anyone who has a problem with my body can kindly note the sprig of mistletoe hanging over the bootylicious junk in my trunk.
  4. Dying is not the worst thing that can happen to me. I’ve already lived through some stuff that I think might be worse than dying. I don’t want to die, but there is nothing I can do to stop it when the time comes, and I have no control over when that time may be, so worrying about it seems like a gigantic waste of time.
  5. Marriage is hard work. Motherhood is hard work. Friendship is hard work. Life in general is hard work, but DAMN, aren’t the rewards pretty fucking incredible?
  6. When somebody upsets or hurts me, telling them my feelings using “I feel…” statements is my best option to having my feelings actually heard and considered without the other person feeling defensive.
  7. Eating healthy and exercising are important. I suck at both of these, but I’d rather die ten years earlier with my mouth smilingly full of chips and cookies than eat kale and run marathons while wishing I was sitting with a plate of pasta in front of me. I don’t want to rush death because I have so much to stick around for, but balance is really about enjoying what I enjoy without guilt and respecting those I would leave behind if I wasn’t here.
  8. It’s ok to be selfish sometimes. Loving myself and making my own wants or needs a priority isn’t really that selfish. As I get older, the things I think I “have” to do or “should” do are becoming less and less, and that’s ok.
  9. I have what some would call “regrets” but I don’t dwell on them because I’ve yet to encounter a hot tub time machine.
  10. I don’t think forgiving someone means you have to allow them to continue doing whatever you are forgiving them for. Sometimes forgiveness means cutting people out of your life so that your hurt can heal and you can forgive and forget – about them.
  11. There is absolutely NO better sound on this earth than the belly laugh of my daughter. Nothing.
  12. Opinions are not attacks on character. Everyone has them. Sometimes they will be the same as mine, sometimes they won’t, but ones that are different than mine are learning opportunities.
  13. TV is overrated. Reading is underrated.
  14. If my kids get straight A’s, win awards, scholarships, sports trophies, etc. but are total assholes, I have failed at my work. I refuse to fail at that work.
  15. Sometimes natural consequences have a much bigger impact than me shouting or grounding or giving a speech.
  16. I live for the moments when my daughter’s arms curl around my neck and she kisses me and tells me she loves me without me having to chase her or beg her for it.
  17. Some people don’t like me. Sometimes that bothers me. Sometimes I truly don’t give a rat’s ass. Either way, *I* like me and that’s what matters most.
  18. I’ve screwed up some of this parenting business, and I will screw up some more, but I’m still a damned good mother and my kids will be just fine.
  19. Every day has good moments, even if it’s a really bad day.
  20. Every day gives me something, even if it’s just ONE thing, to be grateful for.
  21. I’ve learned to accept that perfection is knowing that something can still be mind-blowing and be imperfect simultaneously. Good enough is still good.
  22. I have been many things in my life and many people have different opinions of me, but I’m not boring. Gossip will never go away, and “You’re welcome!” to those I’ve given something to talk about.
  23. Change is the only way to keep moving forward in life and learning. There is always room for improvement, but not at the cost of dissatisfaction with yourself.
  24. No matter how bad things are, they could always be worse.
  25. My mom was right – I do understand now that I’M a mom.
  26. Nothing feels quite like someone you love caressing the side of your cheek with the palm of his or her hand.
  27. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” isn’t just the title of a book – it’s a recipe for life sanity. I’m not always good at this, but as I get older, I’m realizing how integral this advice is to my mental and physical health.
  28. If you don’t see my worth, that’s YOUR problem, not mine. I have given up trying to prove myself to anyone.
  29. There are all different levels of friendships, and that’s ok. Some friends are for life, some are not. Some have your back when life is kicking your ass, some don’t know what to do or say. I am trying my best to appreciate what each type of friend gives me and give back to them what I can.
  30. Sex is important. It’s not just to pump my ego, like I thought it was 25 years ago. It’s a physical release, but also an emotional connection.
  31. Actions do speak louder than words. I’m learning to listen better.
  32. People rarely change simply because *I* want them to. Change is truly self-motivated, but if you market it properly, some people are much more open to motivating themselves.
  33. Cancer sucks. I lived many years fearing that I would get it again, but now I just worry that all that negative energy will make me sick, so I try to not think about it.
  34. Laughing together with people I care about is my favorite soul food.
  35. I don’t have to stop loving someone simply because I don’t like some of their actions.
  36. Hate is not only a strong word, but a heavy burden to carry. Anger passes, but hate takes up too much time and energy and is rarely worth it.
  37. Animals are an integral part of my family and always will be.
  38. Love is love. There are no different kinds reserved for the “best” skin colour, sexual orientation, religion or gender. All humans are equal in every way. I am sad that this is not yet a universal truth, but I refuse to give up hope that one day it will be.
  39. Family isn’t only about genetics. I love mine. My parents are incredible people who always have my back, no matter what.
  40. Cancer fighters and survivors are amazing people. I was a kid and had no idea what I was dealing with, which makes it so much easier than what those who are fully aware of their situation must deal with. I survived through pure luck, but so many others survive by fighting with everything they’ve got. I bow down to them.

A Different Breed of Good

“I’m a bad mom.” 

“Wearing my “Mom-of-the-Year” sash and tiara.” 

“Rotten Mom Club President.”

Just a few of the sarcastic-but-not-really comments I’ve seen recently on social media and blog posts.

Every time I read these comments, my inner voice screams inside my head:

MOMS!  STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!
(If you’ve written any of these or something similar recently – don’t worry – this post isn’t about YOU specifically.)

I know the feelings behind those words, trust me, I really do.  The guilt about some parenting mistake that you’ve made.  I’ve been there.  Repeatedly.  I’m no mothering expert or pro.

But in addition to the numerous resolutions I quasi-made for 2014, I am really trying to give up on mom-guilt.

Do you know why?

It accomplishes nothing except making us feel like shit about ourselves.  How does that do anyone any good?

So what, if you don’t make all those stupid designer lunches for your kids – most kids just throw out their food half-eaten or bring it home uneaten anyway.

So what, if you did the happy-skippy dance when your kids walked out the door on the first day back to school after the holidays – you and I and about a million other moms did too.

There seems to be a growing trend of mothers expressing their mistakes publicly – which is awesome.  Let’s be honest with one another – we all screw up.  Every single one of us.  Hearing about other moms’ mistakes makes us feel normal and supported – we are a mom-munity.

But how does it help other moms to feel like part of the community if we talk about our screw-ups in such a negative way?

I’m not suggesting we brag about what we’ve done or pat ourselves on the back. “Woo-hoo!  I lost my shit on little Johnny last night because I have PMS, so I sent him to his room with no dinner – isn’t that cool?” isn’t going to make other moms feel that sympathetic or connected to you.  But sending out the subtle message that you are a bad mom if you make a mistake or if you enjoy time without your kids or if you get mad at your kids sometimes (a lot) for annoying the bejeezus out of you or any of the million other things that moms feel guilty about – that’s not cool either. Just tell it like it is – you made a mistake, you maybe feel guilty about it (or you feel guilty because you don’t feel guilty), but in the grand scheme of things, you’re still a great mom and this isn’t going to turn your kid into a disaster in the humanity department.

All of your guilt and shame and screw ups and oopsies – they are NORMAL.  Do you really want your kid having documented evidence of reasons to hate you or rebel against you or blame you for needing therapy when they get older?  Nuh uh.  Documenting your very normal HUMAN behavior under the label of “wrong” or “bad” is simply putting the idea into their heads, other mom’s heads and even YOUR head that you’re not good at what you’re doing.

And that’s bullshit.

Unless you are abusive or neglectful or doing other stuff that might require help or improvement – you are all good moms.

We are a different breed of good.  And that’s ok.  We don’t need to be perfect, or even perfect-in-training.

Personally?  I’d rather be the mom I am and demonstrate to my kids that I’m imperfect, flawed and I make mistakes, but I keep getting up every morning and trying again the next day.  I keep trying to learn from my mistakes and trying desperately not to repeat them.  I apologize to them when I think I should.  I’m human.

I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking they need to be perfect.  I’m not perfect.  Nobody is.  They don’t need to be, either.  And they definitely don’t need a perfect mom.

Imperfection is the new black, so stop beating yourselves up, moms.  Be kinder, gentler, easier on yourselves.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:

Good enough is still good.

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Not-So-Hot Buns

Often people will ask me if I “did” my daughter’s hair.  I laugh.  They think it’s weird that I’m laughing, but they have NO idea how ridiculously incompetent I am in the hair-doing department.  With my OWN hair, nevermind a 5 year old black girl’s hair.

I take Baby Girl to a salon every 2 weeks to have her hair done, because I know my limitations and I find workarounds that compensate for them.  Usually.

For my own hair, I am extremely low maintenance.  I generally go with the high, messy bun-ish look, or the low, messy bun-ish look.  Sometimes I get fancy and do a messy ponytail or even a SIDE messy ponytail.  I rarely wear my shoulder-length hair down because I just can’t stand hair in my face or ears or mouth or eyes. It might be important to note at this point that all the messy-ness comes from the fact that I have naturally wavy/curly hair that is very fine and therefore very layered to make it look like there is more of it than there actually is.

I was recently waiting in line at Walmart and perusing the crap goods that they try to market to you in that location.  I generally don’t fall for that stuff, but something caught my eye that day:

hot buns full box

Yep.  A bun-maker.  But not a MESSY bun-maker!  A sleek, smooth, GLAMOROUS bun-maker!  A HOT BUNS bun-maker!  Like ALL the celebrities wear!  I could now carry my bun addiction into more formal settings!

SOLD!  Kim Kardashian – eat your heart out!

I paid my $14.98 for the “hot buns” Simple Styling Solution because I wanted  hot buns.  Not my messy, shaggy, do-it-yourself buns.  I wanted the buns that the girl on the box had.  I wanted to take my buns to a Whole. New. Level.

I read the box, noting the “Simple” and the “Roll, snap and wrap” part of the description instructions.

Hot buns Simple

It SAYS Simple, so it MUST be simple, right?

Hot Buns instructions

Roll, Snap & Wrap! Hearing Special Agent Oso singing “3 Special Steps” in my mind…

I was sweating with anticipation!  Simple was MY kinda styling technique!  I could DO this!

This is what the “Hot Buns” tool looked like before I put it into action:

Kinda creepy lookin' huh?

Kinda creepy lookin’ huh?

You put this thingy at the end of a ponytail (high or low, depending on your desired bun placement) and then roll the thingy up until it’s covered by your hair and near your scalp.  Then you make a donut with the hair-covered thingy and there are these little snaps that you press together to make it stay in the donut formation.  You wrap the little elastic band around the bun to keep it steady and PRESTO!  Beautiful, sleek, stylish bun (a bit of gel or styling pomade is optional, for flyaways, according to the enclosed leaflet).

Well, I think you all know where I’m heading with this story.

After 45 minutes in the mirror and tired, aching arms, here is what the last of my “HOT BUNS” looked like:

Why yes! I AM wear pyjama pants in this photo!

Why yes! I AM wear pyjama pants in this photo taken in my bathroom mirror!

I’ve accepted that cold buns are really where it’s at…

(My apologies to the manufacturer of Hot Buns.  I am 100% positive that the failure to create a Hot Bun in my hair had NOTHING to do with your product.)

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Be Careful What You Wish For

Be careful what you wish for…

Such a shitty, ominous warning, isn’t it?

Except it’s true.

Take my wish earlier this week to have a kid-free weekend.

My summer so far has not been bad.  I’ve managed to survive dealing with our kids and keeping them relatively entertained and busy.  We’ve had some fun.  Huzbo has helped out as best he can, but he’s been very busy with work, so most of the responsibility has been mine.  Sometimes even on weekends or evenings.

My parents very kindly offered to take Baby Girl to their place “up north” for the weekend.  My stepson is with his mother.   I was beside myself yesterday, tweeting about skipping around with joy and excitement.

It started out well.  Baby Girl left at 2pm.  I relished the quietness for a bit and then decided that a good nap, without interruption or need to wake up at a pre-set time, was in order.

Huzbo and I had planned to grab some wings, beer and a movie.   But I woke up later than I thought I would and didn’t get ready fast enough for the wings and beer part.  We agreed to have dinner AT the movies and have a drink later.  After all – we had no kids to get up early for!!

We enjoyed the movie but when we came out, Huzbo decided he was “too tired” and “too full” from our nutritious dinner to enjoy a drink.

Ok, no problem.  Always tomorrow night, as we have TWO nights kid-free!

I pulled out my phone during the drive home and was immediately alarmed to see my parents’ cell number as a missed call.   Uh-oh.  There was no message left, which somehow made me more worried, wondering about all the possible reasons why they could be calling.

Then it hit me.

I had forgot to pack Baby Girl’s Numero Uno security comfort item.  She doesn’t go to bed without it.  She won’t sleep without it.  It was 10pm.  A sense of dread settled in.

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My mom answered the phone and confirmed that I had indeed forgotten to pack the item.  And Baby Girl was beyond hysterical.  I could hear her screaming and sobbing in the background.  My heart died.  Then it reached out and bitch-slapped me for being so incredibly stupid.  Then my brain got mad and defensive at my heart and said “Fuck off heart.  It was an ACCIDENT!”.  But none of that helped Baby Girl.  Or my folks.  Or me.

Twenty minutes of what can only be described as HELL later, after listening to Baby Girl scream at me and my parents and sob and cry, I finally had to tell her that if she didn’t settle down, I would have to come there to bring her home.  And I would have.  Despite the 3 hours it would have taken to drive there and back.   Part of me expected her to agree to that, considering how tired and upset she was, but I think what she really had been hoping for was that I would drive up there and bring her the goods.  That wasn’t gonna happen and I explained to her that if she would go to sleep NOW, my parents would buy her a NEW item the next day so it would only be ONE sleep without it.  Nothing worked.  I told my poor equally distraught mother that if my daughter didn’t calm down within 20 minutes, I would be on my way.

Thankfully, my mom called back in 22 minutes and said she had settled.  Not easily, but she was most likely too exhausted to continue.

Now, I could continue this post exploring all the different levels of mom-guilt and self-loathing that I felt, knowing how much my daughter values this comfort item and why she needs it (this is one of those private details that I’m not going to ever share to protect her privacy, but suffice to say this item provides comfort to her in relation to one of the many hardships she endured prior to adoption.)  Ya – THAT kind of guilt and loathing towards myself for my screw-up.

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Huzbo tried to assure me it was not my fault and she would be ok, but I was too rattled and upset and needed to get my mind off of things, despite the fact that it was now 11pm and I am usually sawing logs by that time.

So I grabbed my laptop to social media myself to sleep.

And came to find out that my barely 2 months-new laptop had been infected with a trojan virus that had literally eaten my cursor.

I had no cursor.  None.  Nada.  Zero.

(Not to be confused with I had no curs-ing, which was definitely not the case at that point.)

Ever tried to use a computer without a cursor?   Not exactly user-friendly.

Huzbo, sensing my rising temper, suggested we call the manufacturer’s tech support to see if they were open and could help.   He searched the number on his Blackberry and dialed it on from there.  As he handed me the phone, I asked him “Are you sure this is the manufacturer’s number?” He confirmed it was.

After a 20 minute discussion with the girl who answered the phone, asked a bunch of questions, obtained my laptop serial number, left me on hold for 10 minutes to “conduct diagnostics” and then returned to say she could fix my problem for a 1 year service plan of $150 and my subsequent freak-out at her that this was outrageous, my laptop was brand-new, it should still be under warranty, I would write a letter to the manufacturer, blah, blah, blah – the poor girl finally had a chance to explain to me that she worked for an independent tech support company that was a preferred support contractor for the manufacturer of my laptop, but she was not actually THE manufacturer of my laptop.

Huzbo had simply dialed the 1st hit that Google gave him (a sponsored one), assuming it was a 100% match to his search criteria of the manufacturer’s name.

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Breakfast at our house this morning…

And Huzbo thought that was amusing.

Not exactly the kid-free night I was wishing for.

So friends – be careful what you wish for.  Profound words.

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