Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blog the Fourteenth

While waiting in my neighborhood post office Tuesday morning, I pulled out my May 2006 copy of "Women's Health" magazine and flipped to the back. Generally I read magazines from back to front, especially if I started at the front once and didn't get all the way through. Switching it up for my brain keeps me frosty, I think. Sort of like running backwards - but I digress.

The last page of the magazine (p. 124) called "The Average Woman" lists statistics I presume are about the average, everyday American Woman (YAY Lenny Kravitz!). In this case the statistics revolved around Mothers, how fitting. So I thought I'd share a few interesting ones here.

Did you know:

1. Nearly 1 in 2: Number of women who say Mom is their best friend
(Before my Mother got very sick, she and I used to be great partners in crime. We were most definitely the best of teams.)

2. Secrets the Average Woman is most likely to keep from Mom: when she lost her virginity and that she dabbled in drugs
(I never dabbled in drugs, but Mom was already gone by the time I lost my virginity. I think she would have laughed at me since it took me so long. She was very much a party type of gal.)

3. Number of women who see or talk with Mom every day: Nearly 1 in 2
(During the week when Mom was around we talked all the time. During the weekends, when it was "her" time, I'd not hear from her for a day or so. Is she were alive today, I think we'd be on the phone all the time.)

4. Percentage of women who address Mom by her first name: 1
(I didn't know my Mom's first name till I was 10!)

5. Best thing Mom ever taught the AW: unconditional love

6. Worst thing: to be a control freak
(Actually that's more of my Grandmother, which may explain why my Mom was a bit of a wild child.)

7. Percentage of women who say becoming a mom improved their relationship with their own: 56
(Way to go ladies! I guess sometimes it is all about walking a mile in their shoes.)

8. Number of women who wish they felt closer to Mom: 1 in 2
(This I didn't and still don't have to worry about. My Mom and I were awfully close when she was alive. I didn't get to experience closeness with her as an adult, so I wasn't privvy to her deep, dark secrets. But I think we might have gotten there if we had more time. And, though she is gone these many years, I do feel close to her even now. I feel our connection is still there.)

9. The AW's favorite dish prepared by Mom: Cookies
(The worst: My Mom's omletes. They tasted like sponges! I used to tell her they could soak up the East River! She'd hiss at me, "Then you can starve!" She was a bit of a drama queen sometimes.)

10. If your mom has heart disease depression: chances you'll get it are 40%, with a lifetime risk of 20% - 25%
(Take care of yourselves ladies.)


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blog the Thirteenth

The Vortex of Pain is over! Weee Hoo!!!

One good thing about having a set time for major grieving is, whether I use it or not, when it's over, it's done.

Psychologically, the end of the Vortex of Pain is like New Years for me. You anticipate it, you're anxious about it, it comes, it's crazy, it's over and BANG! it's a brand new day and all the bad stuff is left in the past.

Also, because I allow myself to be a bit of a mess for three weeks of the year (I inform my boss, I don't do dishes, I runaway, I cry lots, I don't write in my blog, heck I might not even take a bath), I'm less inclined to allow myself to be a wreck the other parts of the year. That's not to say that I don't have bad days. But I try to keep them to bad hours, or to just a day. I am not allowed to carry on and on and on ad infinitum - not after having three weeks.

I couldn't imagine being a wreck on a regular basis. As a single person, being "non-functional" is not an option. Allowing myself a set point to be alright with not being alright, is such a help.

Even if you don't have the coincidental layout that I have (Mother's Day, Mom's Birthday, Mom's Anniversary) I'd say allow yourself a few days before your Big Trigger Day or perhaps a few days after (I find I'm fine after but not before). Tell your family, for the next few days if you're not feeling well, you are not doing the dishes or the laundry - they're just going to have to get along without you. Ask your partner to make the meals or just eat out. Tell your friends thanks for the invite but you don't feel like going out tonight and reschedule for another time. Turn off your phone. Skip the blog. Book a hotel somewhere and stay there - free housekeeping and continental breakfast included.

There are any number of things you can do to give yourself the time you need, especially around those Big Trigger Days. Maybe you don't need to go anywhere and can instead sit home and color. The point is give yourself that time. Please don't feel bad about giving yourself those days, but please do try to keep yourself from going overboard - a wee bit of discipline goes a long way when you need to rein yourself in - after all, at some point, those damn dishes do need to get done.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Blog the Twelfth

Last Friday, while driving home, I made the left turn onto Lake Ave. and something odd caught my eye. Lake Ave. crosses over the freeway, and looking out over the freeway were two people doing some sort of funky dance.

As I got closer I made out that the two people were actually a lady with a summer hat on and a little boy in a baseball cap (most likely her son or nephew). As I got even closer, I realized they were not dancing a funky dance at all, but gesturing excitedly to the trucks traveling on the freeway below to blow their horns.

And apparently they got a horn blow. Just as I pulled up even with them, they started jumping up and down and turned to each other with big smiles on their faces. Success! Then they promptly went back to getting the trucks to blow their horns again.

That moment was so hilarious, that I couldn't help but crack up aloud as I drove by. All the way up the hill to my home, I could not stop smiling, thinking of those guys enjoying one silly moment in life.

Inspired by that, here is TL's Silly Moment In Life #1.

I don't know what started it, but at some point my Mother and I decided that at random times and on random days and in random places, we'd play little games. Games we mostly made up, but which were fun nonetheless.

One Saturday morning, I was lying on one couch in the living room and my Mother was lying on the other. We were watching some cartoon, I can't remember which, as my Mother ate Cocoa Puffs right out of the box.

During the commercial break, I turned to look at my Mother, and she threw a Cocoa Puff right at my face. It hit me square in the forehead - bonk! - and bounced off onto the floor. I stared at her for one second before I busted out into uncontrollable laughter. I found the Cocoa Puff and threw it back. She caught it and ate it cracking up the whole time. The game was on.

My Mother grabbed Cocoa Puffs one by one and lobbed them my way. My goal was to catch them in my mouth, no hands. I don't know how many we threw back and forth, but I can tell you while many of them landed on my face, hardly any of them landed in my mouth. There were Cocoa Puffs everywhere!

Then after a few failed rounds, my Mother says, "Don't Move. Just leave your mouth open." So I lay back on the couch, my head tilted up and kind of off to the side so I could see her throw. She tossed the tiny Puff into the air, it arced from her couch to mine and landed... right on my tongue. I couldn't believe it! We started laughing so hard, one of us fell off their couch (I think it was me!).

I don't remember us playing the Cocoa Puff Game again after that day. But, we didn't have to. It's a memory I'll have for all time.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogram to bring you an Exercise in Collaborative Blogging.

I decided to give something new a shot and participate in a Blog Exchange. It's a collborative blogging experiment where you are paired up with a buddy, assigned a topic, write your take on the topic at hand, and post each others views on each others blogs with a link back to the other person's blog. Sound confusing? It was for me. And I think I kind of got yelled at because I didn't submit my work, or post my buddies work... well... till now (slackerific!). My apologies to K Chase and J's Mommy for dropping the ball.

J's Mommy wrote her post and then stopped by Cheap Chocolate only to realize, gasp!, Cheap Chocolate is a blog for Motherless Daughters and her post is about the struggles of being a Mother. After reading her post, I have to say BRAVO Stacy! BRAVO!

There is indeed a reality to being a Mother that is not as Stacy says, "all sugar and no spice." My Mother (perhaps not yours, but mine) wasn't always Suzie Homemaker, and I know she must have cursed my name more than once, as I tested every one of her seemingly last nerves.

I found early on I had to walk a fine line between remembering my Mother rightfully and making her into some flawless fantasy. My Mother wasn't some storybook character. She was a real live, flawed, hard-working, beautiful, trying her best and fucking up sometimes woman... and Mother.

Put your hands together for Guest Blogger J's Mommy (aka Stacy) and her wonderfully written post on the topic - What's in a Name?


What’s in a name? Funny you should ask that. I’m not feeling too find of my name right now.


I hear it all day long. “Mommy, can you get me some chocolate milk?” “Mommy, can I watch a video?” “Mommy, can we go outside?” “Mommy, I don’t want to go to bed.”

It’s a constant reminder of who I’ve become. A mother, a role model, a healer of all things. It’s a huge responsibility and I had no idea what to expect when I found out I was pregnant. What I read about in books and learned from friends was nothing like what I experienced. What I am STILL experiencing.

I’m afraid that if I say what I really feel, I’ll be admitting defeat. If I tell the truth, the whole world will find out I’m a fake. Heck, what’s the difference? I’m already consumed by guilt. Here it goes …

Sometimes, I don’t like being a mommy.

There I said it. My world didn’t shatter. And yet it’s a sentence I would never say in the real world, outside of the blogosphere. Not even under my breath. Doing that would make me an outcast. All of the mommies out there madly in love with their children would hunt me down and scold me for saying such a thing.

You have to know that my daughter is everything to me. She is smart and funny and totally fearless. But, she’s also willful and stubborn and just plain difficult. Don’t believe me? On her one year checkup at the pediatrician, he recommended this book.

It’s because of her behavior that I feel like there’s nothing left of me. The me that used to enjoy life and laugh a lot. The me that was patient and understanding. The me that was creative and driven. The old me.

The name ‘mommy’ has a lot of meanings for me ~ some good, some bad. There are times when I feel proud and times when I feel just plain pitiful. I wish there were more mommies out there like me. More mommies who feel like they’ve been duped into believing motherhood is all sugar and no spice.

Tomorrow I may feel different, but for today I’d like to be called Stacy.