Friday, June 5, 2009

Mommy Crisis or What Was I Thinking?

Hey, Moms out there, do you ever have a moment when you wished you weren't a mother? Oh, come on, admit it. This is a Mommy-guilt free zone. I've been a mother for 10 years now and have wished several times (too many to even count) that I wasn't one. Sometimes it is for a moment, sometimes a day; I've even had a few months in a row before (that is a long story for another blog). I FINALLY admitted my secret wish the other day to a friend of mine. It was just "one-of-those-days": "I know this sounds awful," of course I had to preface what I had to say with that so I didn't look too evil, "but there are times that I wish, really wish I wasn't a mother." To my little selfish surprise, she grinned and said, "Me, too."

Don't get me wrong; I wouldn't trade my kids for anything...well, at least at this moment I wouldn't. Ask me another time and you might get a different answer! I worked so hard to have those babies: four miscarriages, months of morning sickness, fat ankles (although more than my ankles were fat), not to mention the money I spent on ovulation kits and maternity tests. Truly, I love them deeply and, as all Mothers know, I would eat dirt for them if need be, but there are also times that I would love to take that dirt and shove it right in their little foul mouths.

So, here goes: I wish I wasn't a Mother when....
  • My child says, "Mom, I hate are the worst Mother in world. I wish you weren't my mother!" Or any other variation on a theme. When I was little, my Mom used to threaten to sell me to the gypsies. When I was quite small, I believed her a bit. Then when I realized it was against the law to sell children, she was toast! Even though I knew it was eventually coming, the first time my sweet child assulted me, I was aghast! To think that I actually created this little monster who stood there, verbally abusing me. My mental reaction is "What was I thinking when I decided to have a baby? So you can yell nasty things at me? If I wanted that, I would've just rented a kid." My actual reaction: "Believe me, buddy, I wish I could send you back right now, but that it impossible! Now, go to your room."

  • I am trying to change my tampon and my children keep coming in to ask very inane questions or to tattle on each other. Sure, I should lock the door, but the lock it broken. So instead I have to figure out how to simultaneously block the door with my foot while taking care of business. At the same time yelling "Mommy needs her privacy!! I'll be there in a minute!! Go downstairs and get yourself some candy!!!" Thank the good Lord for yoga (or should I be thanking Buddha for that?) My rule now is that if the house isn't on fire and if no one is bleeding, then leave me alone when I am in the bathroom. Remind me to get that lock fixed!

  • I have a hangover and someone wants pancakes at 6:30 a.m. This does not happen often, but when it does, man, oh man, do I wish I was back in college with a day ahead of me with nothing better to do than lay in bed, eat saltines and sip Sprite in the dark. I always tell myself: "I will never do this again." But sometimes it just creeps up when you're with your friends, and the music is playing and you are living for the moment. Then the sun comes up and all I can hear is "I'M HUNGRY!! I WANT PANCAKES!" Oh, for the day when they can make their own damn pancakes.

  • A toddler throws up on me at the beginning of an overseas airplane ride. I have the flight attendant yelling at me something about germs and food. I have the baby screaming, crying and heaving. I'm standing there literally head to toe in vomit, chunks in my hair, drenched in the foulest smell without a change of clothing for myself (but I packed 3 for him!) Passengers are looking at me in horror. This is a Dorothy moment where I desperately click my heels together and wish, oh wish, I was back home---or at least single, sitting in first class with my cocktail, magazine and fresh baked cookies. Somehow, that doesn't work.

  • The doctor told me that the only way to get my stomach back would be to have a major surgery. You know those women who are "all belly" when they are pregnant. That was me with both babies...although I was also all ass. When most women aren't wearing maternity clothes until after week 16-20, I was in them almost immediately. Seriously. At 16 weeks, I had a lady ask me when I was due, and when I told her, she looked at me like I had 10 heads and said "Honey, you look like you are about to pop." Thanks, lady, who I don't know. Now I feel REALLY good about myself. So, I learned to start lying about my due date so people would tell me how good I looked. Bad, I know, but I do have an ego to nurture. My expectation are not that high. I know I won't have the pre-baby body I had in my 20s, but I would like one that doesn't look so lumpy and saggy.

  • Trying to change planes while flying home to Texas. I have got one in the stroller who can walk and one walking who doesn't want to walk. We have to go from one terminal to another in less than 30 minutes. I have a backpack that the walker refuses to carry, my bag with all-things-mother in it (so you know it weighs a billion pounds) and I have to keep picking up the bottle that the rider keeps dropping on the floor. I'm sweating. I'm thirsty. I have to pee. The one in the stroller is crying because she wants out and the one walking is crying because he wants to ride: "It's NOT FAIR she gets to ride." "But, honey, she doesn't know how to walk!" "I don't care, it's NOT FAIR!" I am literally dragging (picture child on floor flailing and me pulling an arm) the non-walking walker down the terminal with one hand and trying to steer a stroller with the other while hundreds of travellers stare at me in disbelief. Click, click, click those heels....damn, they're still here.
In the grand scheme of a lifetime, these difficult times are fleeting and far between. The clock hands seem to a crawl when I am in the midst of a Mommy-crisis. Then, once the air clears, I take a breath and we are back to the same ol' routine of snuggles, giggles, ruffled hair, grass stained knees (the sign of a very good day) and words of love. The bad news is, time truly does fly when you are having fun.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lucy Goosey's Legacy

On Monday, May 4, 2009 our family dog, Lucy Goosey, died unexpectedly. The experience was beyond gut-wrenching. One of the hardest things for me to do was to pick up my kids from school, knowing that when we got home, the news would break their hearts. It was a warm day, sunny and clear. The kids came out of class with hope of dinner out and possibly ice cream for dessert (cotton candy for Audrey and peanut butter perfection for Dakota). I smiled, hugged them and said "What a wonderful idea. We will do that. Hey, and guess what, Dad didn't have to go on his business trip after all." They ignited into more furious giggles and the jumps in anticipation of our surprise night with Dad and all the trimmings. Now looking back, I'm not sure if I should've made them SO happy before releasing the final blow. I had no energy to argue or explain anything; I just wanted them home and in my arms.

After asking the kids to sit down on the couch for a "quick talk" before moving on with our evening plans, Dakota guessed it right away: "Someone died. Who? Mom, who? Was it one of the kitties?" All I had to say was "No, honey," and he immediately began his guttural screams and cries "Not, Lucy Mom. Oh, no, NOT LUCY. I didn't even get to say goodbye!" Audrey was her typical peaceful self, with a couple of tiny, hot tears rolling down her cheeks, she just wanted to know when we would get another dog. After a couple of hours of calming Dakota and placating Audrey, we did make our night out. Before we left, I took Lucy's two collars and the kids wore them around their wrists. This particulary comforted Dakota as he could still smell Lucy's fresh-rom-the-groomer scent. Over dinner we toasted to Lucy and talked about what a great dog she was and shared our favorite stories. Ice cream brought more tears so we snuggled when we got home and I let the kids sleep with me.

We had Lucy cremated and I somehow had to figure out how to thoughtfully explain this to the children without delving into the gory details. I simply said that Dr. Simpson (our vet) was turning her body into ashes so we could bury her in our yard. We do have a lot of wild creatures in our wooded land, so I continued to explain that we didn't want the other animals to dig her up. I also noted that if we ever moved, we would be able to dig the box up and take Lucy with us. They were satisfied with that idea and wanted to see her ashes when they arrived a week later. Oh, the things we do for our children! That was the first cremated anything I've ever seen, coming from a history of grave side burials. The box was heavier than I expected and the ashes were more gravel-like than soft like out of the fireplace. I wouldn't let them feel them. I just couldn't go there.

Each of us wrote Lucy a note and put it in the box with her. I couldn't fathom putting the box right in the ground (I don't know why) so I got out our handy, dandy ZipLoc bags. I triple bagged the box (seemed like a good idea at the time) and announced it was time for the burial. We had invited our two closest family friends over who really knew Lucy and had a relationship with her. My husband dug the hole under Lucy's favorite bush, I placed Lucy's box in the hole and then the 8 kids present took turns putting dirt on her. I asked them to say something nice about her when they did and in unison they began all covering her and spouting phases such as: "You were a good dog, Lucy," "Best dog of a life time." "We love you Lucy." "We will never forget you Lucy." Dakota and Audrey, with a little help from their friends, placed the stones they had made for her the week before on top of where we buried her. We all held hands in a circle and prayed. My parents were there so I had Mom pray. I couldn't possibly speak at that moment.

I was sad a few days afterwards. In fact, I get sad every once in a while for her. The grieving process is slow and steady. During the week after it happened, I would go to the door to let Lucy in and I could have sworn twice that I heard her barking and once that I saw her. One particularly sad time Audrey came to me and said, "Mom, don't be sad. Lucy is in your heart forever." (except it was actually cuter because Audrey still has speech issues: "Mom, don't be sad. Woosy is in yo hawd foevah.") Audrey believes that Lucy is now one of her Garden Fairies (an Audi-ism for Guardian Angel) and she talks to Lucy freely as if she is right there. She decided that Lucy is playing with our old cats, Hunter Boogyman and Chewy, in some beautiful place in Heaven for beloved pets. She showed me the faith of a child in its purist form and now I smile when I see Lucy's grave, knowing that she is still with me but instead of chasig turkeys, she is chasing clouds and instead of scaring away squirrels, she is scaring away nightmares. We love you, Lucy Goosey. You are the best dog of a lifetime.