One of my favorite memories...

Ok, so maybe it's not one of my favorite memories, but it certainly is one of the funniest. No, scratch that. It is one of my favorites.

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately, just to sort of see what's out there. And reading all of the "mommy blogs" is totally bringing back memories of that insane period of time when the inmates were truly running the asylum.

More specifically, that little wedge of time when I was the proud stay-at-home with four kids all under the age of 6. In those days, I took my breaks where I could get them, and some days the only alone times I had were the blessed few seconds I could sit down on the toilet with the door closed (the times I sat on the toilet while nursing a baby don't count).

During these little potty breaks, more often than not I would have at least one child pressed up against the other side of the door, wanting to talk about which sibling was looking at them, what I was doing, is there a heaven for bugs, why can't we have snow cones for lunch, etc. Point is, if I didn't have an audience watching, I for sure had one listening.

So one of these times I was unwrapping a tampon. Being pregnant and nursing for just about 6 consecutive years comes with one very nice advantage: no visits from Evil Aunt Flo. So getting to know that wench again after over 5 years without seeing or hearing from her was just another thrill in my already super-exciting life.

Anyway, apparently this tampon had an extraordinarily crinkly wrapper...the child with their ear pressed up against the door made an audible gasping noise, and I heard them scramble down the stairs and scream, "MOMMY HAS CANDY IN THE BATHROOM!!!!!!!"

Talk about disappointment.

Cherish those moments, mommies.


50 First Dates...only not sweet dates like in the movie.

After things with Curiously Cheap George cooled off, I picked up where I had left off: online. At this point I was on eHarmony, and for a few months I had a flurry of "getting to know you" communications, followed by a small succession of first dates. A few of them didn't even warrant monikers, but of course, a couple of them did.

First there was Dr. Phil. He was neither a doctor nor was his name Phil, but he was a dead ringer for Oprah's ex-favorite goombah. I had exactly one date with the good doctor, and on this date I learned that he had been married not once, not twice, but FOUR times. I had already written this one off, when he surprised me by actually farting at the dinner table. And then made a joke about it, instead of doing what I think most adults who had met their dining companion just 40 minutes prior would do and pretend it was the seat. Check, please.

Angry Steve called me and left a message of him singing "867-5309" (you know, the Jenny song from 1981?) and thought that was the height of hilarity. He managed to find the one restaurant in the tri-state area where they still allowed smoking, and I spent a hellish hour and a half hearing all about his psycho bitch of an ex-wife who apparently was still pretty hot. Yes, she was crazy but he said he'd "take her back in a minute". Angry Steve did tell me about the show "Rescue Me", though, so I guess the second-hand smoke and the second-hand bitterness weren't all for nothing. I do love me some Denis Leary.

Sad Counselor was a guidance counselor from a local high school. We actually went out on a few dates, and I did have a decent time with that one. Although he pissed me off with the lying about the height thing. What's up with that? Why do so many of these men fudge their height when chances are really good that eventually someone will meet them in person? And what is it with the magic fake-height of 5'10"? Is that like some universally known panty remover number? Personally, height is not a deal breaker. As long as I can't see the top of your head when we're standing next to each other it's all good (and I'm barely 5'4" so you see, I do keep an open mind). But skinnier than me, that's an issue. Short/thick around the middle=good. Short/29" waist=not so much.

Anyhoo. Sad Counselor was a sweet guy but had a little bit of a dark side. After too many of our conversations morphed into mock-therapy sessions where he'd start going on and on and on about how he was terrified that he'd end up dying alone in a nursing home bed (his words, not mine, I swear!) I decided that I needed more of a half-full outlook kind of guy and ended things.

And I simply do not have the time or the finger strength to describe in great detail the ones with whom I never made it past the "About Me" stage. The countless guys who had 300 pictures of themselves, and in 298 of these pictures he's straddling his motorcycle (not that there's anything wrong with motorcycles. They're hot. But dude, one picture of you and the bike is plenty). Or the ones with a single picture, and that picture happened to be a soft-focus senior portrait of a groovy kid with long feathered hair, wearing a wide-collar rayon shirt with a desert scene printed on it and yes, a puka shell necklace.

Lest you think I am some choosy, holier-than thou bitch, let me tell you. This is a scary thing for someone like me. Looking back, I cannot believe that I had the guts to actually do this. I am what people call "self-effacing", or what some therapists would probably call "filled to the brim with crazy, insecurity and self-loathing". I didn't go into this thinking that I was above everyone, that no one was good enough for me. Quite the opposite: I worried incessantly that I would not be good enough for anyone. Dating after the age of 40 is tough. It can be loads of fun, but believe me, it takes a lot of work, a lot of courage and some seriously thick skin.

So, I began to lose interest in the whole deal. And one night, when the kids were with Big Daddy, I did something totally out of character.

It involved craigslist, a ride on a Segway, and of course, some wine.


What To Do When Your Husband Leaves You

When I wrote this post, I had no idea so many women would find it by going to Google or Bing or wherever and typing in the words "what to do when your husband leaves". Every time I see those search terms have been used, my heart breaks a little. I wrote this in a lighthearted way...don't get me wrong, the advice is real but the delivery is a bit flippant. I recently wrote a follow-up post, called "What To Do When Your Husband Leaves You. Part Two." It's a wee bit more serious, and contains advice that I wish I had put into this one.

Whoever you are, whatever you're dealing with, I want you to know that you are not alone. A lot of us have gone through this and have made it out of the madness alive, intact and happy. You will too.

Yeah, I'm not dwelling. But I remember wanting to talk to women who went through this interesting life experience and not really finding a whole lot out there on the subject. Sure, there are divorce sites, cheating hubby sites, all that flim flam/angry chat board groupie thing. But most of those offered up the obvious stuff, and I wanted to know the subtle, little things.

Like when you're pregnant, no one really tells you there's a very good possibility that a room full of people will see you poop when you deliver. That's not essential information, but personally, that's good to know.

I made a shit-load of errors. I did a lot of things that I shouldn't have, and it would have been really cool to have had someone there to give me a heads-up when I was going about it the wrong way.

So here is my little list of "Things To Do When Your Husband Leaves You" by someone who has lived through it.

1. Breathe. Duh, right? But remind yourself to do it, do it deeply and often. When we start to freak out we get that panic-stricken breathing thing going on, and that's not conducive to rational thinking. Which you will definitely need to be doing at this point.

2. Put your emotional censor into hyper-drive. You are going to have a million things running through your mind all at once. You are going to want to negotiate, maim, give up, maim some more, accept all blame, pass the buck, yada yada yada. That's all well and good, as long as you KEEP IT IN YOUR HEAD. Don't say anything, write anything, text anything or email anything before you carefully, thoroughly decide if it's appropriate. Or true. Or self-destructive.

I turned to the written word when I was left to twist in the wind. I wrote pitiful, awful letters to Big Daddy, wherein I took all the blame for everything bad that had happened in our marriage. I blamed it on wine, on the Internet, on my hamhock arms...I guess in my damaged state of mind I figured that maybe, just maybe, if I took this one for the team he'd reconsider. In hindsight, I should have ripped these up instead of handing them over. He kept them, and not only kept them but shared them with the very person who was 1/3 responsible for the demise of our marriage. And that sucks. I still have a pretty pathetic, weepy email from him, sent after he and The Office Bicycle had started shacking up, that I printed out and saved. I think it would be...interesting to see the ripple-effect that thing would have if I shared it. But that's irrelevant right now.

Lesson learned: don't let your heart hit send before your brain proofreads. This will be something that requires constant attention. And you will slip. Forgive yourself.

3. Open up your own checking account if you don't already have one. And an addendum to this one: close the joint one, asap. Even if you are one of the rare ones who does get that "fairy tale" ending, it's never a bad idea to have your own bank account. If you do indeed end up divorced, it's wise to get your name off of EVERYTHING that is joint. I am haunted, to this day, by things that we signed on to as a married couple. I'm not a lawyer nor am I a financial expert (I made myself LOL at this one) but I do think that things may have been a little bit brighter for me, financially, if I had dumped most of the co-sign things right at the start.

4. Brace yourself for the fact that if he's left, chances are really, really good that he's got someone else. I denied this one until the proof was physically shoved into my face. When I think back on how desperately I tried to patch things up between Big Daddy and I, and all the while he was slinking back to Suzy Homewrecker, I am filled with two things: anger at how stupid I was, and embarrassment. Especially when I consider the little family trips that I begged him to attend. He'd go, alright. He'd bless us with his presence. And we'd have our awkward sex again.

I distinctly remember one cold late-fall night in a cozy cabin up north...kids all tucked in and snoring away, me and Big Daddy drinking cheap beer and fumbling around in the bedroom. He said, "Hey, do you want to try it a different way?" and God bless my naivete, I was all, "Huh??". Yes, sweet handful of readers, here I go again with the backdoor references. We all know how that "ended" up, right? No way Jose. But it did kind of click in my mind a couple months later when one of the kids asked me what "Astroglide" was. They had found it on Big Daddy's bed. I told him it was a special lotion, and that maybe he should ask Big Daddy what he used it for. Maybe ask him at a party or family gathering.

If I had known right from the start that he had found a secretary who did way more than order donuts for meetings and answer phones, I could have saved myself a whole lot of humiliation. And I could have started filling out my eHarmony questionnaire earlier (it takes days to complete. Months if you actually read the questions).

Anyhoo: Point is, prepare yourself for the worst. You may have already been replaced. Which leads me to my next What To Do (that is actually a what not to do)...

5. When you do find out he's been screwing around, don't obsess about her/him/it/them (the "other"). IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER. Keep repeating this one, over and over until it's burned into your cerebrum. I wasted non-refundable hours of my life wondering who this person was, what she looked like, what her story was, was she hot, was she young or old, did she have kids, what did she have that I didn't??? Waste of time. Because, honestly, who cares a whit about her? All you need to know is that in the long run, she has done you a favor. As poor betrayed Addison on Grey's Anatomy once said, "I don't want someone who doesn't want me." Why would you? Life is short. Don't waste a precious second of it giving them another thought.

Of course, if kids are involved, you do need to know that they are safe when not in your care. I wasn't thrilled to learn that the person who was now playing Mommy with my kids 4 days a month was a recently divorced smoker and likes her drinkies, but as far as I know I don't have to worry about their safety (although the head shaving incident was spooky).

In my situation, once I did finally see this person face to face, I felt oddly let down. She wasn't a stunner. She isn't ugly, but she wasn't the Jessica Rabbit I had pictured in my mind. As one of my friend's husbands said, "She kind of looks like she was rode hard, and put away." So all of that going ape-shit with curiosity was for naught. It was like waiting for some ominous test results (like the HIV test I took, literally the day after I found out about Secretary) and then finding out it's nothing. Quite literally, nothing.

6. Heard about the Divorce Diet? It's real. Take advantage of it if you're chubby. If you are a foodie, like me, this may very well be the one and only time in your life when you truly cannot eat. But you have to, so make sure you don't starve. This was the time in my life when I really used my gym membership to its full capacity. There is no therapy in the world that can beat ears full of high-volume kick ass music and a treadmill. You forget your woes for an hour or so, and all those endorphins will, at the very least, keep you from crying on the way home from the club.

Trust me though, the Divorce Diet isn't known for it's longevity. After a while, life settles down and you start to feel human again, and your past comforts will do what they have always done best: comfort you. If you are smart, you will keep that gym membership or at the very least, do some sort of exercise several times a week. It will keep all of those feel-good hormones chugging through your system which can help out in many, many areas of day to day life. Like when you realize one of the other things that no one tells you....

7. Have some sex. Sex after divorce is awesome. Really. When you have it, that is. Gone is the baggage that you and your own Big Daddy kept in the bedroom. There are no more feelings of guilt for not wanting it. When you're single again, trust me. You want it. There is none of the pretending to be asleep when you feel that hand under the covers, or when you are 100% sure that's not the remote you feel poking you in the back. With single sex, you most likely have a very limited window of time to do the deed, in addition to the dinner/movie/Segway tour that leads to the nookie (yes I said Segway tour. God Help Me. That was the craigslist victim. We'll get to him soon).

You get to feel that rush of taking a big naughty leap again, and the rush is fun. And even if the sex is less than awesome, you get the freedom of NOT HAVING TO DO IT AGAIN. And again and again for 12 mind-numbing years...oops. Got off track. It's kind of a sick thrill to get ready for a date and wonder what Bachelor #3 has in his bag of tricks. There really are other fish in the sea...some wonderful, fun fish who are not total assholes.

What I'm saying is this: There is good everywhere, even among the wreckage of a marriage that has gone off the tracks. Life will be completely different for you now, but when you think about it, maybe that isn't a bad thing. Sometimes even something as devastating as being left behind while the person you promised to love til death do you part begins his own mid-life Rewind can be a gift.

You will be ok.


The times, they are a'changin

I woke up this morning surrounded by the following: two snoring people, one snoring dog, a harness, a leash and an empty bag of pita chips. And a sore jaw.

18 years ago I would have woken up, found my pants, and done my walk of shame home. This morning, I stumbled into the kitchen and started a pot of coffee.

The old me would have cursed the vodka or whiskey or wine coolers that got me into that precarious situation. New Jenny cursed the Greek olive hummus and the child with the flailing, tentacle-like arms and legs.

The times really are a'changin.


A Fat Girl and the Heat

It ain't easy being chubby when it's warm outside.

Here's my confession: I hate hot weather. There you go. Strip me of my midwestern citizenship. In this land of snow and gray skies, during these three or so months of endless sun, dripping wet air and (here is where I'll go ahead and use my least favorite word) MOIST everything, to claim your dislike of hot weather is comparable to a Catholic dissing the Pope. But here I stand, sweat beading on my upper lip, saying that I hate it.

I used to think that my dislike of the steamy months in this state was a byproduct of my girth. "If only I was skinny, then it would tolerable", I'd say to myself while standing in front of the open freezer. I used to think it was due to the fact that my childhood home didn't have central air until I was 19 years old. I remember hot nights in August, silently weeping into my pillow because said pillow had no "cold side". Cursing my mom for not understanding that I needed air conditioning. The futility of trying to get ready for nights out on the town. Having that classic George Costanza experience of "my shower didn't take". Trying to put make up on a glistening face. Hair that desperately wanted to frizz and curl when all I wanted it to do was pouf up smoothly.

Then, I had a summer, a few years ago, when I was skinny. I wore a two piece bathing suit without a skirt, and SHORTS. Yes, I wore shorts. Granted, they were khaki cargo shorts from the Gap circa 1997, but they were shorts. I wore tissue weight tees and didn't obsessively suck in my gut all the live long day. I wore little knit camis with shelf-bras while doing yardwork and didn't have to worry about moving my arm too fast and sending a kid flying out into the street with one of my flapping bingo-wings.

By this time, too, I was a GROWN UP. And I had complete control over the a/c. The frugal banshee in my head screamed at me for not turning the thermostat up at night, and the worrywart fretted about the electricity bill. But I cranked that sucker. When you walked into my house, you saw your breath. It didn't matter that the overnight low was a laughable 79 degrees, in Jenny's Ice Castle you had your pick of cold pillows, and the down comforter stayed tucked under your chin all.night.long. And it was good.

But you know what?

I still hated the heat. I cursed it whenever I'd get into my truck and felt the back of my legs bubbling the second they made contact with the burning leather seats. I'd go on walks in the pre-dawn coolness and gasp at the swollen, Johnsonville bratwurst fingers on my hands. I raised my shaking, plump fist to the heavens when one of the big-headed weather men would show us a week of 90's and practically DEMAND that we "GET OUT THERE AND ENJOY IT". Screw you, bobble-head, I'd think. You get out there. I have air conditioning and cable. I know where I'll be.

But my hate for the heat has been closeted. It has to be when you have kids. Unless you want to bear the responsibility for creating the next generation of heat-haters, you have to paste a grin on your sweaty face and get your fat ass out there. You find the right kind of t-shirt at Target (and can I just say, right now, how much I also HATE cap sleeves? They are the mortal enemy of thick-armed girls. It's like putting a baby bonnet on an Easter ham.) and you buy them in a few neutral, fade-into-the-background colors (a couple white, some light gray, and just because, you also buy the black ones). You stock up on stretchy capris. You go to the Land's End Inlet and find the most flattering skirted tankini with a matching breathable burka/coverup. And you get your big, expand-in-the-heat-butt out there. For the sake of the babies, dammit.

You take comfort in knowing that in a just a couple of months all of your thin friends will be shivering when the temp drops to 60 degrees and they will start whining " boo! where did the summer go?". You will be wearing your hoodies again, your long cardigans and your jeans, and you will be vindicated. Your sweaty ass suffering will be over for another year. The long down parka will come out of her hibernation, just as you do.

And it will be good. Cold, and good.


The Washcloth Debate

So I was sitting around at my friend's house, with a couple of my bestest girlfriends. My friend's cat just had kittens and we were probably committing a major sin of nature by holding and loving on these tiny little babies (chill, Bob Barker-ites, the kittens are over a week old), and of course, gabbing.

With my particular group of friends, you never know where the conversations will go. We can start out talking about paper towels and end up in a make-shift group therapy session, tears streaming down our cheeks as we talk about how our moms just don't get us. This time the topic du jour was the first time you realize that one of your babies has a raging case of b.o., and from that exciting conversational tidbit we somehow ended up discussing washcloths and showers.

I think it started when we discussed how when you first smell that horrible "onion gone bad" odor emanating from one of your prepubescent children, the main thing you need to do (besides offer up some deodorant) is make sure that they know how to bathe properly. Because all moms know, the 30 second shower that most kids take most likely entails them standing under the water, working up a small pouf of lather in their hair and maybe getting the bar of soap wet. So it's your duty, as someone with a nose, to ensure that they get soap in all of their now-ripe nooks and crannies.

At this point in the conversation, one of my friends turned to me and said, "And I have no idea how you get clean without washcloths, Jenny."

You know, the fact that my friend knows that I am not a washcloth-in-the-shower person didn't strike me as odd, as some of you 16 readers may think. My friendships are kind of a black or white thing in my life. If we are friends, we are FRIENDS. I have very few people in my life whom I would consider mere acquaintances, once we have spent a fair amount of time together we will walk away knowing more than we probably should about one another. I can tell you which one of my friends fakes orgasms, which ones keep their ladygardens smooth and Kojak-ey and which ones go au naturel, which ones would rather be eviscerated than spend more than 5 minutes with their in-laws, I even know which friends have peed their pants at Target (more than you'd think). We know things about each other.

So, when Friend brought up my washcloth issue, suddenly I felt the eyes of the women all alighting upon me. I stammered, "What do you mean? I use soap." Another friend said, "Seriously, Jenny? No washcloths?" like she just found out that in my spare time I eat babies. I felt instant shame and wondered if perhaps I had dark tendrils of stinky fumes rising from me, ala' Pig Pen.

I don't use washcloths in the shower. Maybe at one time I did. I know that when my angels were still in the "bath time" era, we used washcloths with them, I still have the stringy, faded Spiderman and Hello Kitty terry cloth squares as proof of that. It's not a big deal in my hygienic life, I don't have some fabric-phobia or some scary Howie Mandelish germ issues. I just don't use 'em. I lather up, rinse off. If I'm feeling crazy I'll shave my legs; super crazy, and the pits too (this part of the routine changes if I happen to have a victim, of course, but let's just say that for the past several months I have been a bristly bitch). As far as I know I don't stink, but believe me, as I walked home from this little Inquisition I felt filthy and dirty. I felt like a RenFest performer, minus the stained green tights.

And worse than that, I started to feel guilt...you see, my children have evolved from washcloth in the tub people to no washcloth in the shower people. I started to fret that I had passed some disgusting hobo-habit onto my brood. Were they the smelly kids at school? Were kids secretly whispering about those reeking Jenny bastards?

I'm the first to admit that there are times when one of my darling offspring will settle next to me on a couch and the smell of ass hits me in the nose like a boxing glove. That's when you employ the "Hey, maybe it's a good night for a shower" talk. After that, though, no more ass smell. As far as I knew, our washcloth-free zone had the olfactory seal of approval. But then I started to wonder, maybe it's because we are all used to our stench...maybe it's like the person who lives in a den of cat urine and can't smell it anymore...maybe we did, indeed, smell.

So, I did what any rational, insecure, fraught-with-self doubt person would do. I started a poll on facebook. I didn't get thousands of replies (ok, I got about 20) but the overwhelming majority answered, loud and clear, "NO WASHCLOTH". There was one person who just answered "Ewww", which I don't know was "ewww" to no washcloths or "ewww" in regards to washcloths, so I took that as a check in my favor. Vindication. I felt good.

I felt squeaky clean, dammit. Washcloth or not.


Daddy's Little Girl

Father's Day.

It used to be a fun time. I'd have the kids make cards and DIY presents for Big Daddy, we'd wake him up and bestow these gluey, sparkly gifts upon him. And then we'd spend the day with our fathers, either stopping by or barbecuing. It was fun.

Of course the stuff with Big Daddy is no longer. For the first year or two I'd make sure the kids had cards for him, but after Secretary clawed her way onto the scene I figured she could take over that one. The kids will spend some time with him tomorrow, no matter who has the kids on Mother's/Father's day they are required to spend the day with the honoree. Which is fine, of course, and is the way it should be. No problem there.

My own father? That's changed too, much to my dismay. I haven't seen nor talked to him in over 3 years. Why? Because of me. I have a checkered past with my dad, and it's a pretty intense, painful issue in my life.

I look back on the early days with Dad and it's classic, KodakChrome stuff. Him running alongside my purple Schwinn as I pedal like a madwoman down the sidewalk. Rushing into his arms when he walked through the front door at 5:00 p.m. Daddy comforting me when I bawled after watching gazelles die on "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom". Daddy tucking me in at night. All the right kind of memories that a little girl should have of her Daddy.

But then things changed. Mom and Dad split up. Dad had my brother and I for a while, while Mom sorted things out. I remember this little limbo time. I remember Dad making dinner for my brother and I, burgers with the Presto Burger Maker and a side of baked beans. Telling me that wearing shorts to school was not ok with him and me feeling the first hot pokers of parental defiance.

Then Mom got custody of us and things kind of went south. I'm not going to badmouth my mom here, she reads this and sometimes misconstrues what I write (surely it can't be because of my rambling, obtuse writing style, right?) so I want to keep it Mom-friendly. But things between Mom and Dad weren't smooth as silk. I don't think their reasons for divorcing were quite the same as my own, but that's neither important nor is it any of my business. I do remember so much hostility and animosity from both sides. Thinking about this stretch of time certainly drives home how damaging Big Daddy and I and our tumultuous cleaving has been, and continues to be, on our own children. But I digress.

Dad was always there for me. When I went through some Carrie-esque battles with my Mom in high school, Dad took me in. Even built a bedroom for me (literally, put up walls, a door, a closet!) in his basement. He had remarried and my two step-siblings were living with him then. I always felt a bit of resentment towards them, no clear reasons why, most likely jealousy that they got more of my Dad than I did. That resentment continues to this day, although I have pinned it down and kept a heel on it, it still writhes. Freaking mental stuff.

Anyhoo. Dad was always there, even when I was a smart ass, know it all teen and twenty-something. It was during my early twenties that we had our first "fight" which resulted in a years-long silent treatment. I know what started it. It was after my flight attendant stint, and Dad took me out to lunch. Told me in so many words that I had to get my shit together. Apparently, that struck a nerve in me and I took off in a huff, and shunned communication with him. I remember him calling and calling, leaving messages, having my grandma call and talk to me. Telling my boyfriend of that era, Wild Bill, to ignore the calls and messages. (Wild Bill was my fiance' just prior to the Time of Big Daddy. More later. Maybe.)

Somehow we managed to not speak to each other all the way until I was holding my newborn Charlie in my arms. I looked at that face and realized I was looking down at my dad. So I called him. Yes, my dad missed my wedding. He missed my pregnancy, and he missed the birth of his first grandchild. Yes, I know I'm going to Hell. I'll save you a seat.

So anyways. We made up, and life was peachy for a while. My dad's house became "Papa's House" and things were Norman Rockwelly for a spell. Then we had another falling out, this time over something someone said that rubbed me the wrong way. Something that was most likely innocuous, but my insane-o-meter morphed into something more. I remember sending a bitchy, "fuck you and the horse you rode in on" email and the doors on our relationship slammed shut again. I didn't talk to my Dad after that until Big Daddy left me.

And again, Dad stepped up to the fatherhood plate. He and my stepmom took care of me. Sheltered me and the kids during the shit storm. Dad went with me while I interviewed my first attorney, and he paid for half of her fees. He became the pseudo Man of the House, helping me take storm windows down and putting screens up. Remodeled my decrepit bathroom. He was the Dad every girl dreams of.

And then I blew it, again. It was during the second year of my solo parenting career. Easter was approaching. This was when not having the kids for holidays was still a fresh, gaping wound that hurt unlike any other injury thus far. The holidays without them were like huge exclamation points on the calendar, dates that I dreaded. So this particular Easter, the angels were with Big Daddy. Stepmom called and invited me over, I hesitated to confirm. Partly because I didn't know if I'd be up to being around family and other kids when I was alone, partly because I wanted to hole up in my house and feel sorry for myself. Either way, I didn't call back, even though I knew stepmom was waiting to get the numbers for dinner. I imagined she/they were pissed, and I started avoiding their calls. Again.

When I feel stress or other freaky deaky emotions, real or imagined, my response is always the same: I go turtle. Withdraw into my shell and no matter how hard or for how long anyone shakes that sucker, I don't come out. I'm working on it, but it is for sure the number one relationship killer in my life. Anyone else do this? It is without a doubt the thing I hate most about myself. Even more than I can't stand my upper arms or my front butt...it's this coping (or should I say un-coping) mechanism.

So that's where it stands today. My grandma is 91 and has tried to mend this ripped fabric, but it hasn't worked. I sent my Dad a birthday card last year. I told him that I was sorry, and begged for his forgiveness. Told him that I was going through some hard times and that I know what a bitch I was but to please, please just forgive me. When I heard nothing, I gave up. I guess he's had enough, and doesn't want to set himself up for yet another round of "Walk on eggshells around my psycho daughter". And I can't say that I blame him.

I am haunted by the "What If" stuff now. What if he dies, and I don't get to say goodbye? Don't get to say I'm sorry? What kind of person withholds love from their father? My kids don't see their grandpa. They have all lost out on years of memories, thanks to my stupid head games. I have friends who've lost their own Dads, and they tell me how much I will regret this asinine, immature song and dance routine I've choreographed. I know I will. In fact, I already do.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you.


Message to my Bad Mood

Hey old friend. How are you? I'd like to say it's nice to see you but, it's not. Not at all. I don't remember inviting you...but here you are.

What brought you to darken my door this time? I hope it's not the whole insomnia thing, I can't seem to shake that. I'm sure a smart person would point out that I've been sleeping in with the kids until 9 or so every morning and what I am now coining "insomnia" is really "the time normal people go to bed". But whatever.

I first noticed your presence yesterday. One of my kids did something that on a good day, wouldn't even register as a blip on my Bitch Radar. But yesterday it did. I was a tool to one of my kids and although I felt bad almost immediately after, I didn't apologize. I left for Costco. When I got home the kid who had been on the receiving end of my spiteful shrew-rant had left for the evening, and I was left alone with you, a Super Sized bag of Angie's Kettlecorn and a pile of regret.

Today you came with me to my therapy appointment. My therapist encouraged me to whisk you away by thinking positive thoughts. I thought I got rid of you, but then as I was pulling out of the parking lot you came back. Just in time to show me how slow everyone else was driving, and how the highway system in our city sucks. From there, you reminded me of how life would be easier if I had a nice car with tires that didn't need to be filled with air every couple of days, and from that you segued into a whole pathetic tale of woe about how every problem in the world, including the BP spill and strife in the Middle East, would be solved if Big Daddy would pay some child support.

You always manage to bring everything back to that, and that's precisely why I need you to get the hell out of here. Thinking of him and the should've and could've things only saps my precious positive energy. You, my bad mood, always bring him back to the forefront of things instead of keeping him locked up in the box in my head marked "Big Fucking Mistakes".

My therapist told me to take a few minutes every day and write down the good things in my life. She said it could be anything, from the decadent and evil Special K bars that my neighbor makes to the fact that my four kids are all happy and healthy. So I did that, and your crabby, bitter rants became softer.

I talked to one of my girlfriends, the one who bugs you the most because she's like Polly-Fuckin'-Anna on speed. She said she'd noticed you lingering nearby for the past couple of days and was just going to wait until you left before mentioning anything. But you know what I told her? I told her that I can't always see you. See, I just noticed you yesterday, but she saw you earlier in the week. So she made a deal with me.

The next time she sees you around me, she's going to help me kick the shit out of you. Yes, we're going to kick your sorry, dark-cloud, glass-half-empty, Debbie Downer ass all the way back to where you came from. Just knowing this has pushed you halfway out the door. Just knowing that I have a friend who cares enough about me to hold my hand while we go medieval on you takes away a lot of your power. I think watching William's Little League game tonight will get rid of you completely. And if that doesn't work, I have some kettlecorn left.

So, bad mood...it's your choice. Stay where you're not wanted, or do the wise thing and leave. You can come back in two weeks when that skank PMS swings through. Although she is twice as potent as you (makes you look like a basket of kittens, actually) at least with that one there is a definitive beginning and ending, and a biological excuse. You, my old nemesis, are as mysterious as you are annoying.

I leave you with a line from the fabulous Ms. Gloria Gaynor:

Go on now go walk out the door
just turn around now
'cause you're not welcome anymore

Don't let that door hit you on the way out. And close it behind you, for God's sake. I'm not paying to cool off the whole neighborhood.


Summer Rules For My Kids

Follow these rules, inmates, and we'll get along just fine.

1. If you can wipe your own ass, you can make a damn sandwich yourself.

2. Two things in this house require lifting: mommy's boobs and any toilet seat being used by a boy.

3. If you have a strong desire to be yelled at, stand at the door of the bathroom while I'm chiseling soap scum off the tub or cleaning up pools of urine around the toilet and tell me you're bored.

4. If you still have a strong desire to be yelled at after that, stand in the kitchen while I unload $200.00 worth of groceries and tell me that "our food sucks" or "we don't have anything good to eat". I dare you.

5. If you need to tell me something or ask me something, find me. Simply staying where you are and screaming is a good rule for when we get separated at the State Fair, not so much at home.

6. See that pretty yellow dog staring out the window? When we rescued him from his concrete cell at the Humane Society I distinctly remember several short people promising to help care for him. The leash and the poop bags are in the front closet.

7. By now you all know about my sick and closeted love of doing laundry. That doesn't mean I love watching you run around outside with socks on your feet. Socks off or shoes on, man. It's that easy.

8. The last person who took my money without giving me anything in return was my former therapist, who listened to me cry about my life for an hour and then closed our session by saying, "You need to date more." You want money from me, you are going to do something to earn it.

9. Teenagers only: I was 16 once. I know things. You are smart, clever monkey, but so am I. Watch it.

10. Know that for all of my bitching and moaning, I am keenly aware of how brief these lazy summers really are, and I know that someday my toilets will stay pee-free and my fridge will stay full and I will long for these days. Every time I yell out, "WEAR A HELMET!!" or "DRINK MORE WATER" or "I WILL FIND OUT WHO DELETED NY HOUSEWIVES FROM THE DVR IF IT'S THE LAST THING I DO!!" I am really saying "I love you."

Now get outside, enjoy this weather. And don't forget your sunscreen.



My kids are required to spend about 3 hours with Big Daddy on Tuesday evenings. Nowhere in our millions of pages of divorce decree crap does it call this particular evening "Dinner night", but one would assume that having children from 5:00-8:30 p.m. would cover the eating dinner part of the evening, right?

You know what they say about assuming though...

Last night was Tuesday. As Daddy-hour drew near, the kids began looking for excuses to not go. Charlie and Molly rarely go on the weeknight visitations, and Henry is starting to follow suit. William still goes willingly, but in the past couple of months has started trying to get out of it as well. I have stated before how important I feel that these brief interactions are, and I really do feel that way. It's good for the kids to spend time with Big Daddy, and vice versa.

Anyhoo. So last night, William and Charlie went with Big Daddy. William came home at the expected time, and like always, said he was hungry. And, like always, I asked if he had eaten. Apparently, it was Secretary's birthday yesterday (oh happy b-day to you, replacement. Rumor has it that you want to hear the pitter patter of tiny little cloven hooves this year...good luck!) and after Big Daddy deposited the two boys at his house, he promptly took off to join Wife Version 2.0 and her herd at some restaurant. No dinner.

Thus the title of today's post...seriously?

I am not upset about the no dinner thing. I would need a hundred hands to count on my fingers how many times they've come home hungry. But what purpose did last night's visit serve that was beneficial to anyone involved? How hard would it have been to just reschedule a "dinner night" with the angels, or just let this one go? I am constantly amazed at the sheer lunacy of this whole co-parenting thing.

I do know one thing. I know that if I had only 6 or so days total to spend with my kids every month (and if I had not only agreed to this, but did so willingly) I would make damn sure that I got those 6 days. I would fight tooth and nail to make sure that I saw each one of my kids for every last second that belonged to me. If they resisted, I would not just shrug it off and say "Whatever." I'd go all Clark Griswold on them and tell them that they were coming with me, and tell them that they were going to have so much fun with me that they'd be whistling Dixie out of their asses. But that's me.

I ran into an old high school friend the other night, a guy I've seen socially a handful of times since the 80's. Very nice guy, he's been through some shit like the rest of us but is still plugging away. He's single, and the last thing I had heard about him was that he was engaged. So I asked him about it, and sadly found out that said engagement had been called off. Of course I asked why, since I am socially inept and also nosy. Seems that my friend was frustrated by the former fiancee's unwillingness to sacrifice time with her kids to spend more time with him.

He said to me, "I think that in a person's life, the priorities should go like this: Relationship first, kids second, everything else below that." Now, don't get me wrong. I like this guy, and am not dissing him whatsoever. He doesn't have kids of his own so this kind of rationale is sort of understandable. But it occurred to me that maybe this is really how a lot of men (and some women) sort things out in their brains.

Is this really what it boils down to? Being punished for putting our kids first? Showing our kids, indirectly of course, that the wants and needs of whomever we're sleeping with (or our jobs, or our cookie jar collection, etc.) has more claim to our time than they do? Maybe that is what it boils down to, and maybe that's the reason that I wake up spooning with a yellow lab instead of a man.

Don't get me wrong: I am not saying that you should let yourself wither up, dry out and blow away like a crunchy leaf in October. Of course we all need to make sure that our needs (sexual, spiritual, whatever) are being met, or at the very least, being acknowledged. But if someone said to me, "Me or the kids...your choice" it would take less than a heartbeat's time for me to choose.

Why does there have to be a choice? I imagine that there are thousands, millions of people who have managed to find a happy medium. A balance. Surely in the Relationship Pyramid, there is room for two at the top.

Who knows...perhaps I am suffering from a big ass case of myopia, so mired in my role of mother that I can't see beyond it. And maybe this decision to put my kids before my libido or my other wants and needs will come back to haunt me, with a vengeance. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I can cross "kids resenting my lover/career/hobbies" off my list of things to obsessively worry about. Phew.


My daughter makes me smile.

Molly and I were lying in my bed the other night. Sometimes she has trouble sleeping so we will hang out together (used to call it cuddling or snuggling but, come on, that's "gross") in my room, maybe watch some t.v. or else just talk.

We were holding our hands up, comparing them. She's only 14 but is already a good 3 inches taller than me, and her mitts dwarf mine. I looked at her smooth, beautiful hands, and then at mine, which are less than smooth and less than beautiful.

I said, "Molly, what a drag it is getting old. Some days I wish I could be young forever." (and yes, the Stones reference soared straight over her head).

She was quiet for a second, and then said, "You should become a vampire."

I love her.


Do you hate our dad?

Well, do you, Mom?

I don't get that question very often anymore. I guess that is a testament to one of two things: either I'm handling myself with a lot more decorum than I used to, or the kids have become adjusted to their strange but not so uncommon family situation.

But every once in a while, one of them will ask. And I always answer the same way.


I tell them that hate is a small but powerful word, rife with meaning and emotion. I tell them that it's a word best saved for the really big things in life.

I give them a list of the things which I do hate: sickness, suffering of living things, oil spills and the Costco parking lot.

Their dad? No hate there. There were some brief flashes of hate-like feelings, most notably when things that were kept hidden from me first started crawling out of the woodwork like nightmarish termites, but that passed. Even then, it wasn't so much HIM that I hated rather than the feeling that I'd been made to look like a fool. I hated the humiliation. But that passed, too. What I feel now is more of a mellow dislike. Kind of like how I feel about this crappy weather we've been having here lately: It sucks, yep. But what can you do about it? Nothing.

I never, ever, EVER want my kids to feel as though they are the products of anything other than two people who loved each other. I make sure that they know how much they were wanted, and how happy their father and I were to welcome each of them into our family. We look at old pictures every once in a while, pictures from way back in the day when Big Daddy and I were dating, and from early on in our marriage. Pictures from a different time. I tell them stories about how their dad and I used to laugh together, how we dreamed about our future, made plans together. They know that they were born into love.

Not to say that I've always been so Mary Freaking Poppins about this whole subject. I have let some zingers fly, said many things which I know I shouldn't have. When you first start going through a divorce, you are bombarded with tips and Top Ten lists of things you should and shouldn't do. There are books and websites and apps and boardgames that will tell you how many ways you can damage your kids while going through this arduous and soul-squashing ordeal. But the fact of the matter is, you don't know how you are going to react until you are deep in these muddy, dark trenches. Some days you do the right thing, many days you don't. All you can do is suck it up, explain yourself, and try again.

Hate is a selfish, cancerous emotion. Does way more harm to you than it does to anything or anyone that you claim to hate. It's best left alone.

Until you go to Costco.



I miss my in-laws, especially Big Daddy's stepmom. She is one of the coolest people I have ever had the good fortune to meet. Dare I use one of my least favorite words? I dare: She's classy.

When Big Daddy first ditched, she was one of the people I turned to for advice. Instead of getting all preachy and whatnot, she gave me some been there/done that advice: told me to clean out the checking account. Love her.

People told me that it's true, blood really is thicker than water, and to brace myself for the loss of that branch of my family tree. At first I was skeptical...there was no way I could not be part of that tribe. These were the people I spent my holidays with, the people I allowed in the hospital rooms to help welcome my babies into the world. These were the patches that helped make up my life quilt. And then it started happening. Slowly but surely, these people faded from my life.

There was a very volatile time, a few summers ago, when Big Daddy and I were having a balls out battle over schedules and holiday times and all that other fun shit that helps keep divorce attorneys rich. During this time, he instructed his family members to cease all contact with me. But we still talked, the emails didn't stop, the quiet chats on the phone continued. I am grateful to those who showed compassion and kindness to me at that time. It made the grueling task of learning to live as a newly divorced chick a little bit easier to handle.

When Big Daddy started feeling secure enough to drag Secretary out from the shadows, it was someone from my ex-family that gave me the low-down on the situation. Gave me a heads up, and helped me prepare myself and my kids for that impending shit storm. It was this person, and a couple others, who always took time out at Big Daddy family gatherings to check in with my angels to make sure that they were doing ok, and asked about their mommy. I was, and always will be, thankful that they were there.

It's hard to watch as my former family grows and changes, and not be able to help celebrate the joys and mourn the losses. The last family event that I was invited to was my former sister-in-law's wedding. They wanted me and the kids there, along with Big Daddy, of course. I had called my mother-in-law to ask about bringing a date, and she said that it would be best if Big Daddy and I both agreed to attend solo. Point taken.

This was to be my first time out and about with that side of the family since the demise of my marriage. I had lost 60 pounds at this point, and was excited to show off the "new me" to my former clan. Big Daddy and I were civil to each other, they had even seated us together, with the kids, at dinner. I can honestly say that we had a nice time. People were coming up to me, eyes wide and mouths agape, with a whole lot of "OH MY GOD YOU LOOK GREAT" comments. It was especially comforting to have my mother in law and her homies surround me at one point, telling me that I was going to survive, that this was all going to be ok. I remember one of these grand dames telling me, "Believe me honey. Some day he'll regret what he's done."

My mother-in-law and I shared lipstick in the bathroom, and she doled out some advice. "You need to have some sex!" she declared. Have I mentioned that I love her?? Then we started in at the open bar. I remember the cosmos, remember the toasts, remember posing in the Traveling Photo Booth. That's when the wheels started coming off, and I became embarrassingly shit-faced. Yes, I got tanked at my former sister-in-law's wedding. And not the fun, happy drunk, oh no. God forbid. I became the weepy lush. Thank God Big Daddy had left with the kids by then, leaving me to make an ass of myself without that particular audience in attendance.

My former father-in-law ended up driving me home, and I remember leaning my head against the cool glass of the passenger window of his car. I remember crying, and telling him how shitty it felt to be me, how Big Daddy had just thrown me out like yesterday's newspaper. I remember him clutching the wheel and muttering, "Don't cry, don't cry, please don't cry." Good times.

I really, deeply, truly regret that night. But, what's done is done. I guess we all have times in our lives when we do or say things that make us want to join the Witness Protection program and go off the grid. Sadly, mine happened in front of the very people I wanted most to leave with a good impression. I guess if there's a silver lining to this horrifying story it's that for a brief time I was enveloped in their world again, and even though I left with breath reeking of vodka and cranberry I felt some sort of closure had occurred. And no, smart ass, closing down the open bar isn't what I mean.

Anyhoo. The reason I was thinking about all of this is because I have been having this mad craving for lentils lately. My ex-mother-in-law used to be married to a guy from India, and therefore had learned to make some seriously kick-ass Indian food. It was her lentils in particular that I was craving but do you think I could find the recipe? Of course not. I still haven't unpacked half of my life, even though we moved in March. So I asked her for the recipe, and she sent it to me. Bless her heart.

Here it is, in case you want to dive into a big bowl of lentilly heaven:

JENNY'S EX-MOTHER-IN-LAW'S KICK ASS LENTILS (someday I will learn to use my apostrophes, til then, don't judge)

1 # bag of lentils
1 very large onion chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 inch fresh ginger, chopped or grated
1 stick butter
1 can diced tomatoes

Spices are as follows, mostly 1-2 tablespoons as you like
curry powder

Sometimes I add a chopped jalapeno

Rinse the lentils and put them is a large pot with enough water to
cover by about 3 inches. Careful not to put too much in, you can
always add more.
Put all the above ingredients in the pot and bring to a slow boil.
Stir and simmer covered for about 30-60 minutes.
I check it for liquid every so often. It should be like chili.

I like to add sour cream (light is fine).
Serve with rice.

I would also add a line to this recipe: Make sure you have some good reading material in your bathroom. Because if you're like me, when you have a craving for something you will eat it until you quite literally cannot eat another bite. And if you do this with lentils, you will be spending some serious quality time in the crapper.



Andy, Andy, Andy.

He's the second one who got away.

Andy and I were together for a brief time, only 12 weeks. But they were by far the most intense, most exciting 12 weeks of my life.

Spring 1993. Big Daddy and I had been together for almost two years. Both of our leases were going to be up soon, and Big Daddy felt that we should just go ahead and move in together. It seemed like the logical next step to take in the relationship, but I had some lingering doubts. I remember I kept putting off apartment hunting with him, and I remember some really big fights about my lack of commitment to the whole issue. That's when Andy came into the picture.

It was May, and I was spending a lot of time with some girls from work (we were all "cosmetic consultants" at a big department store downtown). Two of these women lived together in an old brick apartment building in the Uptown area of our fair city and that had become the place where we'd all gather. One warm night, our little group of chicks was getting ready to head out for that evening's round of bar hopping. I had heard them talk about the "cute guys" who lived across the hall from them, but had yet to meet them...cue the fateful knock on the door.

So in walk two boys. Both cute, both friendly. One of them had gone to the same high school as Big Daddy, and we started chatting a little bit about that and other things. I was struck by two things about Andy within a few minutes of meeting him. Number one, this boy was smart. For the first time in eons, I felt like I didn't have to dumb myself down to keep the conversation going. We talked about authors, about our favorite books. We both confessed a secret desire to write "the great American novel" someday. Number two? This boy was hot. Big Daddy wasn't ugly by any means, but this fella...it's been almost 17 years since I've seen that face but I close my eyes and I can see him like it was yesterday. Short, super short blond hair, a tanned/ruddy complexion, gorgeous deep-set blue green eyes. Built like a Greek god, too. He had been a soccer player for years, and if I know one thing for certain in this world, it's that soccer does nice things for a boy's thighs.

While Andy and I were immersed in conversation, someone broke out an old school bottle of tequila, the kind with the worm floating at the bottom. Someone also broke out a bong (this was to become the Summer of Being Baked) and the next thing I knew, I was making out with Adonis out on the screened-in porch.

Now, all ye who judge...yes, I did kind of cheat on Big Daddy. And for what it's worth, I feel bad about that. But in my defense, we were constantly fighting and breaking up, were not living together, we were not married, we did not have four kids and a decade under our belts. And I dare say, if any one of you were sitting within tongue distance of that smokin' hot plate of male, you would have done the exact same thing.

That night spilled over to the next day, and the next. Needless to say, the sex with him was breathtaking, amazing, almost beyond description. I remember closing my eyes and floating away as I felt his breath on my neck, dug my fingers into his strong, broad back. We spent days holed up in his stifling bedroom, lying in bed. We called it "the terrarium" and joked about moss and mushrooms growing on our bodies.

Within a day or so of the Tequila/Bong night, I told Big Daddy that I was feeling unsure about things, that maybe we should cool it for a while. So instead of finding our first little love nest together, Big Daddy moved in with his dad, and I moved in with a couple of girls from work...about half a block away from Andy.

Proximity means everything, at least it did back then. My friends and I would spend our days off lounging in the sun, walking around the lakes and planning our nights. One of the clearest memories I have of Andy: I was sitting on one of those awkward folding lounge chairs in front of my friend's apartment. We were gabbing, smoking our cigarettes and doing all the things you do when you are 24 and life is easy. Someone said, "Hey, here comes your loverboy, Jenny!" and I looked up to see him, rollerblading down the street towards us. And I remember thinking to myself, "I cannot believe that someone like him is interested in someone like me."

Our budding relationship had its ups and downs, of course, nothing is ever perfect. Andy would clam up for a day or two at a time, withdraw into his own little world. I worried, too, about how much he drank (yeah, I know, that's akin to Lady Gaga saying that someone is a little out there, right?). I asked him point blank, if he was feeling the same way I was, that this was something a little more than a fling, something more than a one-night stand on extended play. He dodged the question, I remember, and the subject was dropped. Then a few nights later, as our little group played darts and ate peanuts at a local bar (for poor twenty-somethings, "Dinner is served"), he brought it up again. We stole away to the dark hallway that led to the bathrooms and he leaned me up against the wall..."Remember what you asked me the other day?" he whispered. I nodded, and wondered if I had peanut skins in my teeth, damn those free bowls of nuts. He went on, "Well, yeah, I do feel that way. I like you. A lot. More than a lot." Ok, for a word-a-holic, this was pure gold. I said goodbye to my heart that night, and honestly, I don't think I was ever the same.

But as we all know, summer is the most fleeting of all seasons, and this one had a set-in-stone expiration date: Andy was leaving for graduate school out west in the fall. This impending departure loomed over us like a vulture waiting for a sick wildebeest to die...we rarely spoke of it, but it was always there.

And Big Daddy? He was still there, too, although like Ross and Rachel, WE WERE ON A BREAK (lol). We still talked, but didn't go out. At the risk of sounding all full of myself, he was pining and I was not. Looking back on all of this, I can kind of wear a big old hypocrite hat myself. Like Mary MacGregor put it so eloquently, I was torn between two lovers. One was safe, secure, steady. The other was a wild card, dangerous, exhilarating. Talk about forks in the road...this one was giant, and I was never before, and have never been since, so confused.

The end of summer was upon us. Andy finally asked me to go out west with him. I guess I knew all along that he would, and I wanted to. I desperately wanted to just pick up and go, but something held me back. Was it fear of the unknown? Another one of my dorky hunches? Who knows. But I made a choice that August. And that choice has led me to where I am today. Good or bad, smart or stupid, I did it. You can't go back, but dammit, you can sit and wonder what the hell life would have been like if you had chosen Door B.

So he left. Big Daddy was waiting for me, and we picked up right where we had left off. I remember the very last time I saw Andy. I was in Big Daddy's car, driving down the main street of our little Uptown utopia. We slowly passed a Blockbuster store and I felt my heart almost stop when I saw Andy and his roommate walking up to the door. To me, he looked sad, almost downtrodden, but perhaps that was just my own lovesick psyche implanting itself onto what I saw. That was it, the final vision of my sweet summer love.

I still think about him, quite a bit. A song will come on, a movie will be referenced, a passage from a novel will bring it all up again. I even have a note from him, saved all these years, pressed between the pages of one of my favorite books. Yes, I know how creepy and stalkerish that sounds, but it's the truth. I thought about him as I got married, as I had my babies, as life meandered on and on.

What would have happened, had I gone with him? Who knows. Twelve weeks does not a relationship make. To give you a rather crude, very inappropriate analogy, it's like a pregnancy that ends too soon. You will always wonder what could have been, and that lost hope will always be perfect. There wasn't time for faults to show themselves, for imperfections to come to the surface.

And that is the story of Andy. Talk amongst yourselves, please...this one really got me all verklempt.


Aye Carumba

So the angels have been out of school for FIVE, count 'em, FIVE days. And while I am doing my best Ricardo Montalban impersonation out in public (Smiles, everyone, SMILES!!!), truth is I am kind of going apeshit.

I forget, every single year, that there is a slight transition period between school/summer. It lasts about a week, and it is brutal.

For about the first 59 or so hours it's awesome. Everyone has sleepovers that first weekend, the kids can stay up late on Sunday night, we all actually slept until 10:00 that first Monday. Then, like lava oozing down from the mouth of a volcano, the realization that we are all together without that blissful 8 hour school break for three whole months dawns on us.

And that's when the smackdowns start.

Yeah, yeah, I know just a month or so ago I sat in this very same chair, chin all aquiver, blubbering about my sad quiet house. Yeah. I get over that one real quick every June. I get over that about the second or third time some projectile whizzes by my ear. My kids are throwers. They are also picky pickertons, who have mastered the tricky art of finding the weak spot in their sibling's armor. The combination of their sheer volume and the wince-inducing cruelty that they bestow upon each other makes me want to push various sharp objects into my eyeballs.

Parenting is a funny thing. It's truly a testament to the fact that yes, the grass is always greener on some other side. When they're little, you wish that they were older so they could master their own playdates, get their own glass of water or ride a bike around the block by themselves. And then when they get older you find yourself longing for the days when an entire summer afternoon could be spent with a picnic lunch and meeting friends at the little kid parks.

Nap time was a fleeting concept for my little ones, but holy hell do I miss it.

This is the one time of the year that seeing them drive off in Big Daddy's car doesn't feel so bad. If life was a fair game, he would take them for an entire day or two during the week. It would be interesting to see how much work he got done whilst wearing the court Jester hat and playing chauffeur and ATM to our children. But I'll take what I can get.

Next week their classes and activities will start, and we will get settled into our new summer routine. This annual tour through CrazyWorld is always tough, but always brief.

Smiles, everyone.....smiles!


Hey Dante, I think you missed a circle...

I love reading The Divine Comedy, especially the Inferno part. For those unfamiliar with it, it's a long-ass poem written a long-ass time ago by Italian dude Dante Alighieri. It describes Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, and depending upon your mood it can be either fabulously enlightening reading or leave you wondering if you have enough Tylenol on hand for a permanent slumber.

I am especially fascinated with the whole concept of Hell having several circles, which are divided into different levels...kind of like the Macy's here in my town. Kids clothes in the basement, cosmetics and women's clothes on the main floor (plus size section waaaaay in the back of course), and men in their own little world.

When I read the Inferno section I like to imagine who I'd run into in each particular circle, which circle I'd be most likely to reside in on that day, which would be worse...hornets, maggots or walking around with my head on backwards? Fun reading.

Anyhoo, the last time I perused this little poem, I thought to myself, "Hey. There needs to be a circle for women of a certain age." More specifically, women in that misty-around-the-edges span of time that is 40-something up to about 50-something.

You see, ladies, once you hit 40, life has a way of changing. And I'm not just talking about menopause (please God, hurry up with that one), wrinkles, body stuff..we all know that's coming. No big surprises there.

What I'm referring to, and what is slowly dawning on me as I do the army crawl through my forties, is that we are completely changed in our positions in life. Kind of like ranks in the military.

I guess this could qualify as limbo, but for the sake of funny let's just make our own circle. In this circle, we struggle daily with new-to-us issues, like the inability to see our faces clearly in the bathroom mirror. Remember the show Moonlighting? Pairing the forever hot Cybill Shepherd with the future poster-boy for midlife, Bruce Willis? I was just a spring chicken when that show aired, but I clearly remember Cybill's close ups were always so gauzy and ethereal, almost dream like. I later learned that was an old school film trick designed to appease aging actresses. Literally "gauzing" the lens. Of course in today's high def/plasma/count my pores world, that would never fly but I clearly remember thinking that she looked like a fairyland queen. That's what we start to see in the bathroom mirrors now. Lookin' good, mama!

Until you take out your contacts or sidle up to the magnifying mirror and realize that you've been gabbing with friends, grocery shopping and whispering sweet nothings into your lovah's ears while sporting Bert eyebrows and a Vote for Pedro mustache. This is the time of our lives when tweezers ace out blow-dryers and curling irons for the number one bathroom must-have. And please, don't get me started on the inch long white eyebrow hairs that spring up overnight. What the hell is that all about?

I have several friends who have or are having babies at this time in life, and I find myself mixed with incredulous disbelief and insane jealousy. I loved, LOVED being pregnant and was really good at it. Would I do it again, at this age? Honestly, I don't know. I guess if money was no object and if I had a partner guaranteed to stick around til the end, maybe I would. But I digress. The majority of my girlfriends had their babies in their twenties and early thirties. Which leaves us with actual young adults on down to tweens in our broods. This is the time of life when you find pubes in the bathroom and you do not know with any certainty to whom they were once attached.

Our children no longer qualify for the kid's meals, and we are not old enough for the senior deals. Menu limbo.

We can fit into the cute junior's clothes, but the last time I wore an American Eagle t-shirt, a smart ass child took time out from his busy day to tell me that I'm too old to wear "those clothes". Thank you, sweet angel, for letting me in on this big taboo. Now please, point me in the direction of the nearest Alfred Dunner store. Actually, we are the darling demographic for stores such as J.Jill and Chico's, and I begrudgingly wear some of it. I just wish that their catalogs made me feel as young and hopeful as the J Crew catalogs used to. Now I see sleek gray haired mavens proudly standing tall, hands on hips whilst showing us the power of the TUNIC. Sigh.

We watch commercials for Viagra and quietly feel sorry for those pretend t.v. wives. We know that behind their glossy smiles they are thinking, "Dear sweet Baby Jesus, why? I have a Pilates class tonight!!!!".

We aren't quite old enough to have the full-on, Bea Arthur-as-Maude take on life...we want to say a giant FUCK OFF to many people but we still worry about social or familial repercussions.

We catch ourselves thinking naughty thoughts about younger guys, only to be flooded with shame and the creeps when we realize that they are almost the same age as our sons. My friend and I were recently at a graduation party for another friend's son. As we sat there admiring the parade of young people, we reminisced about our own lost youths. We made the pedophilia jokes, of course, and thought about what we would tell these kids if only we were visible and audible to them. I said that if I had 18 year old boobies again, I would probably just lock myself in a bathroom and play with them. We are borderline dirty old ladies.

Our parents are old now. Some have left us, some are in the painful process of leaving. Some of us care for them as we cared for our babies and as they once cared for us. The circle of life is glowing brighter for us now, brighter than it ever has. We are reminded now, more than ever, how short this time on earth is. We have come to realize that yes, this is really all there is, and if you don't make damn sure you squeeze every bit of joy and laughter and love out of it, you will be sorry.

All kidding aside, yes, I do know that these minor little grievances I write about aren't really Hell. They aren't even hellish. For every mundane annoyance in my life there are at least ten good things, things that make me grateful and humbled and happy.

I just wish I didn't have to squint to see them.


Weight Update.

So the size 14 jeans are starting to get a little baggy. That means I can start casting a cautiously optimistic eye towards the leaning tower of twelves in the closet.

My chin collection is dwindling. The roll of fat around my midsection no longer resembles a bundt cake, but is still more in the neighborhood of "supah sized" rather than "standard" muffin top. Can't wait for that to be gone. I still feel like I am trapped in a fat suit with an unreachable zipper, but the padding is a little less bulky on this one.

As far as the eating is concerned, it's been relatively painless. About the same time I decided to start eating better, I also made some drastic changes in what I feed my kids. We are about 75% organic now. Everyone says it's so hard to go natural/organic when you're dirt poor, but if I can do it, anyone can. Have you ever taken a second to read the labels at the grocery store? Holy shit. I cannot become a food Nazi (not enough time, definitely not enough $$$) but it's been a nice surprise to find several affordable, edible options out there as far as feeding kids goes.

Don't be fooled though. In the deepest, darkest recesses of my heart I am, and always will be, someone who lives to eat. I have had a few slip ups, most noteworthy was a bag of Twizzlers that happened to fall into the cart while I was grocery shopping one night, and then half of that bag somehow happened to fall into my gaping pie-hole on the way home. Yes, I gobbled up licorice while driving in the dark. For shame.

I'm also still doing as much exercise as possible. Well, ok, maybe not as much as possible. But I am waddling with Walter pretty much every day, for a good hour or so. The kids are home from school now, so my daily walks are as essential as the daily poo. There is always the risk that when I get back, one or more of the angels will be lying in a pool of blood or there will be flames bursting out of the windows, but mama needs that little break.

I was joking with my therapist at our last session...we were talking about my tendency to self-medicate. For a long time I sought numbness and relief in bottles of wine, but not anymore. The thought of a drunk-driving ticket scares the absolute bejeesus out of me. So I was telling her how there ought to be a driving violation in regards to foodies, just to keep us scared straight. We were both cracking up as I described the terror and self loathing I'd feel if a cop pulled me over after a Taco Bell run. Wiping the greasy cheese bits off of my chin as I fumbled for my license and registration, trying to casually kick the crumpled up wrappers and bags under the seat..."Can you please step out of the vehicle, ma'am? We need to check your shirt for stains." They could call it "Driving While Full", DWF for short. Your punishment would be hard time watching marathons of the Biggest Loser and sporting a license plate emblazoned with the McDonald's arch.

Not sure if my therapist was laughing because she was truly amused, or just didn't want to get back to my abandonment issues, but we did have a good giggle over that one.

Anyhoo. I am taking it like Bonnie Franklin would...one day at a time. And now you'll have that theme song running through your head, too. You're welcome.



Apparently there's a German porn out there titled "Happy Hausfrau".

I think a lot of people mistakenly come here, looking for it.

Sorry, fellas. You aren't going to find a big boned, Aryan babe dressed in an apron doing things with a feather duster.

Just me. Mostly Irish, with a few other things mixed in.

I used to have a little Norwegian in me, but we're divorced now.

The One(s) That Got Away

I've got two of 'em. Which makes me either incredibly lucky to have experienced love like that not just one time, but TWICE...or else incredibly stupid to have let love like that slip between my fingers not just one time, but TWICE. Sigh.

The first one was my college boyfriend. I went to a state university "Up North", after taking a year off to find myself (aka: get my shit together and save up some $). There is no other feeling in the world like that of moving into a dorm your freshman year. Nothing else like it. That sweet taste of freedom, the terrifying knowledge that "this is it", being away from the constant harping and open billfold of mommy..it was a feeling like no other.

My roommate was a tall, beautiful girl named Holly. This was her second year at school, so she had an in with all the right peeps. We bonded almost instantly, over a pack of Marlboro Lights and the squeals of mutual joy when we each pulled out our mix tapes and saw The Cure on both of them. Those first few nights were a fuzzy collage of smoke, beer and "Love Cats" being played ad nauseum.

Holly and I never missed a kegger, never missed a Monday "Quarter Taps" night at the local bar, never missed a chance to wiggle into our Guess jeans and let the boys know that we were all that and a bag of chips.

We each had a small succession of victims. There were guys from the hockey team, a couple of guys from the next hall down, several random fellows in between. One particularly scary night with the token Loner Dude who wore an old Army jacket and combat boots.

And then I met Tom.

Holly and I had invented a game in which we went through the Freshman Faces Book (get it? Face-Book. If only the internet had been invented, and if only I had a crystal ball) and put check marks by all the guys we thought had potential.

There was one in particular that I had not only checked, but double-checked AND starred. He was adorable, with a mop of curly hair and gorgeous blue eyes. His name was Tom, and his hometown was a city not too far from mine.

One night, after fueling up with a half dozen or so Coors Lights, Holly and I gave Tom a call. He and his roommate came over, and I remember my shock and horror as my role model, my inspiration, my Mr. Miyagi, my roomie Holly put the moves on the boy I had checked. Harlot. Slut. I was aghast. Never before had I experienced this kind of evil! But there wasn't any need to fret. Tom and I had fallen into like at first sight, and our small snippet of life together officially began that night.

My trust in Holly began eroding that evening, and after my newfound couplehood began, our friendship quickly soured. She moved out of the dorm room by winter break, leaving me with two extra-long twin beds and a whole lot of privacy. Tom and I moved the beds together and he unofficially moved in. I remember thanking God at this point that the Resident Advisor for my dorm was a sweet but constantly baked stoner who barely knew my name and never once questioned the fact that I only left my room for trips to the vending machine and the occasional class.

First love rocks. I thank my lucky stars that no matter what else has transpired in my life, I have felt that rush, that indescribable drenching of emotions that being in love for the first time gives you. I pray that my kids feel this someday, and that they are fortunate enough to experience it with someone like my Tom.

We met each others parents over the long winter break that year. The drive between our houses was about 20 minutes, and we spent every possible second together. As you may have surmised by now, studying wasn't a high priority for either of us and our grades showed it. Our parents were pissed, and rightly so. We went back to school after winter break with threats of pulled funding looming over our heads.

We pulled it together and made the ma and pa people happy. Spring in the midwest is always lovely, and if you are cocooned in the sweet embrace of young love it's even better. We finished up that school year with semi-decent grades and a grim determination to make it through three whole months of living apart and trying to find time to wallow in our mutual love for one another while working our summer jobs. Somehow, we made it work, despite my two part-time jobs and his full time one. Together we perfected the art of sneaking around nosy parents and annoying siblings to get "alone" time. My mom's laundry room, the backseat of his dad's Caddy (one very embarrassing experience involving a cop, a flashlight and a heavy dash of shame comes to mind), these were the places we would go, together. September couldn't come fast enough for either of us.

September did come, and the school year went by in a flash. We were not going to win any accolades or special tassels for our academic progress, but somehow we made it through. By now we were lost in our own world, a fantastical Tom and Jenny Land, where there was no room for anyone else. Our parents, Tom's in particular, were worried about this land, and started to pressure him to step back a bit. My own parents were happy that I was happy, but also questioned the intensity of this coupling. I remember my mom warning me about babies, telling me to keep my feet on the ground. Apparently Romeo and Juliet had this same sort of parental pressure....but just like those two lovebirds we didn't cave.

Long story a bit shorter: our third year in college turned out to be our last. If only our desire to succeed in school had been as strong as the urge to just be together. We both moved back home and on to menial jobs, Tom as an exterminator (good times getting picked up for dates in the Bug Truck) and I went back to the Mom and Pop bakery I had toiled at for the past few summers. By then I had started getting the flight attendant itch (which is not slang for what happens after a night of mini-vodka bottles and dirty pilots) and Tom's dad had started nudging (nudging with a cannon) him towards becoming an enlisted man.

So we became The Stewardess and the Sailor. Tom was stationed in Hawaii and I was sent to Detroit. We kept the long distance thing going for a good long time, but things sort of unraveled. We did see each other some time later, when Big Daddy and I had already started dating. It was a bittersweet, flashback filled night that left me feeling empty and sad, wishing things had turned out differently.

Years later, I Googled his name and found him. I sent him an email just saying hello and much to my surprise, he responded. We emailed back and forth together for several months, getting all caught up on our once enmeshed lives. He's an electrician in a neighboring state now, married to a nice girl and the daddy to two little ones. We haven't corresponded since my life went swirling into the depths of hell, and I miss it. I'm not one to toss about quotes, but this one from Thomas Wolfe pretty much sums up how I feel, even now, when I think about Tom and the past we share:

"My dear, dear girl [. . .] we can't turn back the days that have gone. We can't turn life back to the hours when our lungs were sound, our blood hot, our bodies young. We are a flash of fire--a brain, a heart, a spirit. And we are three-cents-worth of lime and iron--which we cannot get back."

But, I was able to experience something just as intense, several years after my sweet time with Tom. It was with this lost love that I found myself at the old proverbial fork in the road, and I made the fateful choice which led to my life today.

His name was Andy.


More Creepy Old Lady Musings.

One of my adoring fans (ok, one of my "real life" friends whom I swear to God I don't pay to read this) gently reminded me that I never finished with the whole "you get sterilized and I'll come back" story.

So here is the continuation of the "Musings of a Creepy Old Lady" post:

When I signed off on that one, I had just approached Big Daddy on the eve of my sterilization. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going under the knife in vain, that I was doing my part in making sure that our reconciliation was a joint effort.

"It's all good." He kissed me on the cheek, wished me luck, went outside to say good bye to his four adorable kids and then left. Would it be melodramatic to mention that I had a sense of foreboding at that moment? Well, I did. Call it what you will, I felt something bad, something amiss. But I brushed it off because dammit, my new life was beginning and nothing, not even something like a gut feeling, was going to bring me down.

I felt something even worse the next day. My mom got me to the hospital where I did the paperwork and blood work and was just waiting to be led into the operating room when I felt an overwhelming urge to get up and run out of the hospital. Really. I heard my own voice in my head screaming, "GO! GET UP AND GO!". And for a brief second I saw myself ripping out IV tubes, grabbing my clothes and just running out, running down the halls like a crazy woman. But I hushed the voice. I silenced it, and an hour later I was sterilized. Forever.

Big Daddy returned from his "business" trip tanned and relaxed. He was glad that my surgery went well and I shrugged off his less than enthusiastic response when I told him we could finally have unprotected, no holds barred, down and dirty sex in just a week or so. I told myself, "He's tired." "He is so stressed at work, give him a break." One of the things I had vowed to change in myself was my tendency to over-analyze things. It was just part of me, but it was part of me that annoyed Big Daddy. So like my fertility, my questioning nature was squelched.

One night about a week after the tubal, we were outside on our patio. Just the two of us. He had been acting strange the whole evening, but not wanting to rock any boat at this point, I let it go. Until he asked me to sit down. "We need to talk". For the second time in a little over a year. This was not going to be good, I remember thinking. I was still a little sore and winced as I sat down, but he didn't seem to notice. "I'm not moving back in, Jenny." That was it. No build up, nothing, nada. I asked why. He did this lame fucking shrug thing I hated and just said, "I can't do this. I won't be happy." All I could muster was a choked, garbled "OK." And then I laid my head down on the smooth teak wood table and cried as my husband left me for the second time.

That was that. It was then that I realized it was over, it was time to start movin' on to the Next Phase. Lawyer time.


I know this much is true.

I bet if men menstruated, tampons and other feminine hygiene products would either be free or as cheap as freaking Q-tips.

Also, I'm sick of getting my period. It's like getting a gift certificate for a restaurant that you have absolutely no desire to eat at, every.damn.month.

That's all.


Make it STOP!

Time, that is.

Yesterday my third child ended his elementary school "career". I remember, very clearly, sitting alone in the family room the night before he was born, eating popsicles and watching "The Net" (starring Sandra Bullock and featuring a very poignant death scene involving my beloved Dennis Miller).

Thirteen years. Blink of an eye. How does this happen?

I remember sitting in one of my thousands of ECFE classes, and hearing this very over-used, but very true sentiment: The days may be long, but the years are short. I remember thinking, "Ha." But it's true.

While we are busy planning dinners, wiping butts, washing clothes, doing all of the million humdrum everyday things that we do as moms, the years are tiptoeing out of our lives. Like a stealthy little kid hiding behind the couch while mommy and daddy watch a movie, time sneaks out right from under our noses.

And I freaking hate it.

I look back on all those endless days of tantruming kids, stinky diapers, food-encrusted high chairs, the ten millionth time I hurled a stroller into the back of a van, the countless games of "Shoe Hunt", "Mitten Search" and my favorite, "Find the four week old sippy cup of milk". I remember thinking that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Little did I know that there was no end, there really was no tunnel. The light was around me the whole time.

Natalie Merchant, granola queen of my tender early twenties, sang, "These Are The Days". Listen to that song, fellow mommies. If you can listen to that song while thinking about your children's lives thus far and NOT shed a tear, you have a much stronger constitution than I.

I work at my children's school, very part time, as a sort of "child herder". My official title is "Playground Supervisor". Back when I first started, my Henry and his classmates were starting 3rd grade. I spent warm fall days out on the playground with them, helped them find a temporary pair of gloves from the lost and found on bitter winter afternoons, and told them to "finish their milk" a thousand times in the lunch room. I watched them grow from chubby-cheeked, big tummied cherubs into tall, gangly, coltish tweens. Saw braces go on, and then come off. Hugged them when they needed it, let them cool off when their budding tempers flared.

And yesterday I watched as they took in their last day of elementary school. Watched with pride, as this particular group of kids never ceased to amaze me with their genuine love and tolerance for each other. Sure, there are BFF's, there are the Jocks and the Smart Ones, but this bunch was always (for the most part) kind to all. I know that will change in the next few years, cliques will form, new kids and new groups will merge with these and form new posses.

But yesterday, they were that same group of third graders again. Swinging on the playground, playing a game of Lightning on the b-ball court. Laughing, hugging, smiling for a million pictures.

And for now, that is how I will remember them.

Moral of this little story? Take lots of pictures, and instead of just uploading them and forgetting, start an online account (flickr, whatever) and save them. Label them with names, for some of the little faces in those pictures will move on before the next "graduation" day. Spend a little time at school with your kid. Get to know their friends, get to know the teachers. Talk to them, not just about how their day was, but really talk. Ask them about the funniest thing they can recall from the past week, the past month. Hug them, while they'll still let you.

Love them. These really are the days.


Growing a Set

I have to say that one of the things I miss about being married is the fact that I no longer have a Bad Cop. You know how it is with parenting when there are two of you; one is Bad Cop, the other Good. In our marriage, Big Daddy played the former, me the latter. We embraced our roles. Big Daddy was the time-out giver, the one with the booming voice who would break up the smackdowns and escort/drag the offenders to their "corners".

I, on the other hand, was the soft, mushy marshmallow who would coddle both the victim and the perpetrator. I had attended Early Childhood Education classes, for Christ's sake, I was trained in the art of parenting. In those classes, we learned how to give children choices, how to name their feelings: "Oh, sweetie. I see you just threw your sippy cup at the baby's head. You must have some big angry feelings, huh?". Give your kid choices, they taught us. I can't tell you how many agonizing bedtimes we endured while giving the kids the freedom to choose which pajamas they were going to wear that night. The older my kids get, the more I want to call that ECFE place and get a refund. Options for a four year old? I think I was duped.

That's when it's good to have a Bad Cop living under your roof. And when my Bad Cop went rogue, I found myself in a quandary. How does a Good Cop learn how to go to the Dark Side? Answer: not very easily.

Looking back on the first couple years of being a solo parent, I realize that I should have done things differently. It was, quite literally, a case of the inmates running the asylum. My own heart was hanging in tatters while I tried the best I could to parent four other injured souls. I thought that they had suffered enough, and were going to suffer for a long time, I may as well make life at home "perfect". So I became the one who gave into their demands, the one who listened to the excuses, the one who let things slide. Mind you, I was not, and never will be a Stepford mom; things were not always puppies, rainbows and sparkles with me. There was plenty of wailing and moaning and great gnashing of teeth. I have yelled, screamed, thrown stuff and said things that I began to regret before the last bit of the word passed my lips. But more often than not, I buckled. I caved. I relented and gave in. And that came back to bite me, hard.

Now, don't get me wrong. I adore my kids. I think each one has a brilliant light around them. Each one of them is my favorite in their own little way. But these darlings know how to play me, and they play me like Pa played his fiddle for Ma and the girls. They are seasoned boxers, prancing and hovering around me, floating like butterflies and stinging like jellyfish.

They'd talk back, they'd insult me, they'd ignore my repeated requests. When I asked them if they talked to Big Daddy in such an appalling manner they would look at me like I had six heads. Apparently they were/are scared of Big Daddy, and then when Secretary entered the scene and took over some of the parenting (please don't get me started on how wrong that is, on so many levels) the fear was now mixed with a healthy dose of confusion. Who is this stranger screaming at us? Can we show her our horns or should we leave those for mommy? Why is she wearing sweatpants that say JUICY on the butt?

Anyway. They'd come home and tearfully tell me how "she called us effers" and "she pulled Henry's hair in a store!" and then they'd proceed to vent it all within the apparently safe confines of home. I became the Punching Bag, where life's frustrations could be taken out, free from judgment, hair pulling and screaming. They had been programmed to hold everything in, only to let it out in a big giant behavioral puke fest when they got back to mommy.

Then the fog started lifting and Good Cop got mad.

Little by little I have been starting to toughen up. Maybe not as quickly as I should have, but I'm doing it. And much to my delight, it's working. I am learning to say No, and then drop it. Not saying No and then giving them a ten minute explanation as to why I said No. I am learning that if I walk over and shut off the XBOX mid-game, it will result in a furious child but said child will not suffer any long-term damage (however, apparently doing so will not allow the child to "save" their points and badges and stuff, but guess what this rookie thinks of that? Tough shit).

For a long time I was convinced that I needed to find a replacement Bad Cop, that my kids would never have the fear of me that they have with Big Daddy. I was sure that I needed someone with balls to step in and get things right. But you know what? I think I can actually grow my own balls, figuratively speaking, of course.

I am still not a full-on Bad Cop. I will let my kids crawl into bed with me when they're having a tough night. I'll cave into the Dairy Queen pleading once in a while. And I will still, on occasion, let a kid wheedle me a lot longer than I should.

You know why? Because every kid needs a Good Cop in their life. And I wouldn't give up that role for anything.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...