A Post About Tampons, Vaginas and Episiotomies

My two male readers? Alex and Jeff? Bye bye. Seriously.  Alex, you're too young to be reading this post where I will be discussing the mysteries of the Lady Garden, and Jeff you've already seen and heard everything there is to know about the subject.  Come back later and I'll be talking about t.v. shows and money. Love you.

Okay, are they gone?  Good.  Ladies, I'm here today to talk about tampons, vaginas and episiotomies.  Not all together, although they could certainly be paired with one another like a fine steak and a good red wine. I have three separate musings and wanted to cram all of them into one post.  Because I don't have much blogging time anymore and because I don't want to gross out my two male readers more than I already have.


I don't remember exactly when I graduated from Regular size tampons to Super size.  Nor do I remember the exact date of that time I picked up a box of Super Plus Kotex tampons, shrugged and said to myself, "Why not?"  I do know that I am tired of getting my period.  I'm 46, I have four kids and the closest I've come to having sex in the past 6 months was the fondling I got from the TSA agent at the Amsterdam airport (and she was HOT).  Yes, you read that right, there was no sexy time with John McCain in the Netherlands. We'll discuss that later.

Anyhoo.  As a mother, I can't help but feel some pride for my aging female anatomy and its unflagging optimism every month. I'm a big fan of the underdogs, you know.  The plucky survivors who don't give up. I can practically hear it cheering every month, through the layers of pudge on my abdomen, "ALRIGHT, LADIES! IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN! YOU NEVER KNOW!!! LINING, YOU THICKEN! EGGS, YOU GET ROLLING!".  I don't have the heart to tell them that unless there's some freaky dreamworld osmosis pregnancy involving me and Louis C.K, all of this hard work every month is a waste.

So the fact that my tampons are the size of wiffle-ball bats wasn't much of a concern to me until a friend of mine recently asked if I had one she could borrow. No, not a wiffle-ball bat, a tampon.  Now, I always have a tampon with me, except for the times when I really need one. Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, and pull out what I thought was my wallet but in reality is a tampon the size of a crib mattress? Check.  Stranded in the Wisconsin woods at my friends cabin, bleeding like a stuck pig and attracting every bear within a five-mile radius?  No, no check. And no tampon.

But I had one with me the day my friend needed one. I'd like to be all proud and cool and say that when I handed her the tampon, which may as well have said "Big Bertha" on the wrapper and I saw her eyes widen with shock and horror, that I didn't feel self-conscious.  And really, it didn't faze me too badly.  Because I am at that age where I no longer give a shit about pretty much anything.  But when she confided to me the next day that she had felt slightly violated by the enormous Kotex, I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me.  Because sometimes even these cotton-bales-on-a-string don't do the job. I'm too old to have an entire drawer dedicated to "Crime Scene Underwear", aren't I?  Which leads me to the second leg of this disgusting post:


If my body was real estate, my bikini area would be "that creepy old house on the corner with the overgrown lawn" that the kids stay away from because it's rumored to be haunted.  You know, the one with a pile of junk mail by the front door, and maybe a rusted out car up on cinderblocks in the backyard.

I don't use my vagina for much anymore these days, except for holding approximately $10 worth of tampons every month.  It's such a shame, to waste that kind of space.  But what can you do?  I have a sequel to my What's Sex Got To Do With It post coming up, wherein I will talk about why the old girl hasn't seen much action lately.  Part of it has to do with the fact that I am so tired and exhausted that the thought of how much WORK it would be to actually have sex is daunting.  Part of it is that I just don't have any interest in playing any sort of sexy reindeer games right now. Add to that the fact that there aren't exactly throngs of men pounding on the front door, demanding to have sex with me POST HASTE and there you have it.

So not much is said or written about the fact that after a certain age, the vagina no longer serves much purpose, aside from the aforementioned tampon holding. And, I suppose, for most of you married ladies, and some of you single ones, there is sex.  But for women like me, single moms who are raising children and working our asses off in order to raise those kids, the vagina is a lot like that slicer/dicer thing I bought from Pampered Chef a trillion years ago: it was "hells bells coolio" when I first got it..I used that gadget constantly, man. Chopped onions and herbs and eggs with it. Kept it clean and within reach at all times. Now? Honestly I cannot tell you where my slicer/dicer is. I think it's in one of those cupboards where you keep things that you've actually held over the garbage or donation bag, but stopped because "someday I might use it again".

There. My lady bits are now the Slicer/Dicer of my anatomy.  And you know damn well that right after I hit publish on this sucker I'm going to go search the high shelves in the kitchen and pull out the slicer/dicer for old times sake.  Sadly, the same cannot be said for the lady bits.


I never had one. I've given birth four times, and only once did the baby come out of my Presto BabyShooter.  That was Molly, and as my smallest baby (8.2 lbs) my doctor assumed she'd come out easy peasy.  Wrong.  Apparently either she had sharp elbows or one of her horns (all kids have them, you know) popped out in utero and therefore my entire reproductive system was sliced open as she came out.  I believe the old sailor term for what happened to my body was called "ripped open from stem to stern".  I wrote about it, in horrifyingly graphic terms, in Molly's birthday post.  So, in hindsight, the two things I feared most about delivering vaginally (episiotomy and pooping in a bed) would have been way more fun than almost dying and ending up with a surgically reconstructed cootchie.  But I did get a kick-ass daughter out of it, so yay me.

I always thought that giving birth via c-section three times would give me a ticket out of the "giant vagina club" but I found out that passing an eight pound razor blade makes you pretty much the president.

Anyways, I thought about episiotomies this morning, when I found myself performing one in my kitchen.  Ha! Did I get your attention there? No worries, I haven't started an OB/GYN practice using the knowledge I've gleaned from watching Grey's Anatomy and Teen Mom.  No, this was a procedure I performed on a pair of jeans.

William is going through the knees of his jeans at a fast rate these days...here's a tip: if your son asks for a "shinny hockey set" for Christmas, be prepared to re-supplement his pants collection at a heartbreakingly rapid pace.  Thankfully he's still at the age where he doesn't care what he wears, so we are frequent shoppers at Target's Boys Denim Collection.  Which is where we were last night, picking out yet another pair of size 14 skinny fit jeans.  All is good and fine, right?

Cut to (pardon the pun) this morning.  I'm in the kitchen, hunched over the coffee maker when William walks in, new jeans in hand. "Mom. The button hole is too small on these jeans." He handed them over to me, and without even thinking about it I grabbed my kitchen shears and made the button hole on the jeans wide enough to let the big button through.  I almost said to him, "Haha..look I just gave your jeans an episiotomy!" but in that split second of time I pictured my son in the delivery room where his wife is having their first baby and him hearing the word "episiotomy" for the second time in his life and decided against it.

I may not use my private parts anymore but thankfully, I sometimes use my brain.

Thus ends my tale of all things vaginal.  You can expect your appetite to return by day's end.


A Middle of the Night Call That Didn't Suck

When you become a parent, you discover a whole new world of scary.  Things that seemed innocent and benign before you had kids suddenly turn into drooling death machines bent on killing your child:

Hot dogs
Anything smaller than your baby's fist
Toys made in China

You get the gist of it, right?  It's like becoming a parent gives you a pair of scare-vision goggles that you can't take off.

And then, something marvelous and amazing happens:  your baby grows up.  He learns to go down stairs by himself and doesn't cartwheel down to his demise on the wood landing.  She eats honey and she doesn't fade away from botulism.  They play with the cheap ass toys from China in the church nursery and don't develop symptoms of lead poisoning.

Next thing you know, you are the proud parent of a teenager.  Time to relax, right?


Now, the drooling death machines are bigger. And scarier.  And oh so real:

Other teenagers
Those other teenager's parents
Video games
Cell phones
ACTs and grades and college and perhaps scariest of all,
Filling out the FAFSA form. 

The day you wake up and realize you have a teenager is kind of like that day you walked out of the hospital with your first newborn baby and NOBODY STOPPED YOU.  It's scary and exciting and you don't know if you're going to be any good at it, but since nobody is stopping you, you just do it.

If you've read my blog for a while you know what happened to my first teenager.  If you haven't read about Charlie, and what we went through, you can get a feel for it by reading this post.  Charlie wasn't your typical teenager in a lot of ways, but in most ways, he was. I had no clue about how to raise a teen; I went by a mish-mash of instinct, watching my friends, and John Hughes movies.  And despite all of my trying, something bad happened.  My baby got hurt.

After that, I watched my other kids like a big nervous hawk. As they became teenagers I worried and fretted and obsessed.  Trying to be SuperMom, I alternate between being overly protective and trying to give them their freedom.  I talk to them, when it seems like the right time (and sometimes when it seems like the opposite of the right time) about peer pressure.  About parties and friends and drugs and booze.  I try to answer their questions honestly, and try to not scare them or make it seem like these things are mysterious and fun like an R-rated movie that everyone else has seen because their parents are cool.

I guess I have an advantage, of sorts...their older brother is a living, breathing "After School  Special" about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.  After all, how many kids get to see their limp, unconscious sibling being whisked away into an ambulance? How many kids have had police at the front door and watched their mom try to reason with a swaying 6-foot tall kid who so very clearly wasn't in any condition to be reasoned with?  Until you have lived with a child like this, you don't know how it feels, and describing it is next to impossible. The fear, the shame, the anger.  And the regret..oh, the regret is a doozy.  You blame yourself for not seeing, not knowing what was happening right under your nose. You kick yourself, spit on yourself and call yourself a bad parent, a failure.  You blame.  Blame yourself, blame your ex-husband, blame that kid who called your boy a weirdo back in third grade.  The "if onlys" and "what ifs" haunt you.*

But, just like that day you carried your newborn out of the hospital, you don't stop. You keep going on because that's what a parent does.  And if you have other kids, you take what you've learned and you stick it in that battered parenting tool box we all lug around.

You talk, you listen, and you absolutely never, ever give up.  Then, if you're lucky..you get a call in the middle of the night.  A call that doesn't suck.

A couple of weekends ago, Henry (my 15 year old ninth grader) asked me if he could go to a party.  Well..technically he told me he was going...which in 15 year-old-speak kind of qualifies as asking.  Because they tell you with a question mark at the end.  So, he told me he was going.  I asked him the standards:  where was it, were there going to be parents there, who he was going with, how they were getting there, yada yada yada.  He provided good answers to all of them, and so he went with my blessings. My nervous, bug-eyed blessings.

My cell phone bleeped a little past midnight.  I don't sleep heavy anymore, haven't in years, so I picked it up almost immediately.  It was Henry.

His voice was shaky, I could tell he was scared.

"Mom?" he asked.  Even though I am now a veteran of these kinds of calls, let me tell you: there is no getting used to that initial heart-pounding fear. None. I answered him, cautiously:

"Henry?  What's going on?"

His words spilled out of the phone and swirled around my sleepy head..jumbled and confused and yet, so clear. So very clear: "Mom we were at this party and someone was drinking and smoking and the cops came and they told us to call our parents and one of them is standing right here and mom I'm so sorry!"

"Are you okay, Henry?"  And as I asked this question I was already out of bed, slippers on my feet and part of my brain trying to remember where I had left my purse and car keys.

"I'm fine, mom.  Really I'm fine.  And so are my friends." and then his voice dropped, to a hushed confessional volume:  "I'm scared, mom."

He then told me that the policeman wanted to speak to me.  Again, not the first time I've talked to a faceless officer in the wee hours of the night.  I mustered up as much courage as one is able to find at 12:15 a.m.

"Ma'am?  Is this Henry's mother?" he asked.

"Yes, this is she.  What's going on?" pleaseohplease don't let me sound like a loser...

"I just wanted to let you know that your son and his friends weren't involved in the drinking tonight.  We have all of them right here, they're fine. They have a ride coming to get them.  And ma'am?" he paused.  This is where the boom comes, I thought to myself.  This is where they tell you they found something on him or that they've decided you are the worst parent they've come across in their 25 years on the beat.  But he continued:

"I just wanted to tell you what a good kid you have. When I talked to him, and told him to call you, he started to cry..I asked him why he was crying and you know what he said?"

And now there were tears on my cheeks as I shook my head in the dark bedroom. "No..please tell me, what did he say?"

"He said he was scared that you won't trust him anymore, ma'am. You should be proud of him, ya know. You've done a good job raising him."

I've done a good job of raising him, he said.

I thanked the officer, got back on the phone with Henry and figured out the ride situation, and then I said to him:

"I'm proud of you, Henry.  Really proud.  I love you."

The phone call, in its entirety, lasted maybe 5 minutes. But it's one I will never forget. And with any luck, Henry won't forget it, either.  I think both of us learned something, in the middle of the night call that didn't suck.

Parenting teenagers is hard, and sometimes you really have to squint to see progress. Fortunately, there are times where you CAN see it..times you can't miss it.  I saw it pretty clearly that night. 

And so I continue on this path of raising teenagers, grateful for each learning experience that comes my way. Grateful for each night there is no call, and grateful to see my kids in the morning even if they're tired and crabby and still don't know how to close a door behind them or wipe pee off a toilet seat.  Nobody is stopping me, after all...I'm just doing the best I can.

* I need to stress, and I mean all-caps STRESS that Charlie is no longer that kid I described up there. We went through hellish times and yes, they were awful. But today, Charlie is doing really well.  He's in school, he's working, he's thinking about the future and what kind of mark he wants to make on this world. I think he's an awesome son, and I'm proud of him.  I love him, too.  So, so much.


Flower Power

Here's something they don't tell you when you're interviewing for a preschool teacher position:  There are gifts involved.  Lots of gifts.

The day before winter break, all of my little angels showed up at school with packages.  I just about fell over when they kept coming at me, one after the other, shoving boxes and envelopes at me.."HERE MISS JENNY THIS IS FOR YOU!!!".  I went home with a grocery bag full of goodies and the kids sat around me as we opened them up, one by one.  Candy and coffee gift cards and Target cards and candy and did I mention candy?  Each one elicited an excited "OOooh!" from me, and of course you know my sappy ass got all teary eyed.

And so I thought to myself, "This job is awesome."  Because really, it is.  What other job is there that allows you to play for hours every day?  What other job is there where you get to hear kids say the darndest things:

While making a glittery heart necklace for Valentines Day: "Miss Jenny this is a sparkly situation!"
Overheard conversation between two boys: "You can't marry your mom.  It has to be your sister."
Doing an art project involving wine corks: "My mommy has MILLIONS of these!!! She loves wine!!"

These kids make me laugh so much, give love so generously and are such amazing little mood enhancers, that getting gifts from them is like someone giving you a million dollars wrapped in platinum. To say it blew me away is an understatement.

So I thought the windfall at Christmas was incredible. And then, Valentine's Day arrived.

Normally a day that doesn't mean a whole lot to me.  Even when I was married, it wasn't a huge deal.  In fact, I tried really hard to remember a noteable Valentine's Day I spent with Big Daddy, and came up with nada.  I do remember a nice Valentine's dinner with an old boyfriend, but that's about it. So I'm not overly sentimental about it.

Once again, I was dumbfounded when a parade of 3 and 4 year olds walked into the classroom clutching little envelopes with giant preschool handwriting on the front: MIsS JEnNY i LvE YuO

Even my embittered hardened heart softened.

And then, while I was supervising the crowd of elementary school kids in the lunchroom (Tuesdays and Thursdays are my "3 Jobs" day...I teach the three and four year olds in the morning, supervise the K-6 kids for two hours in the afternoon and then step in and assist the pre-K group for the last three hours of the day), one of my pre-K kids and his mama walked into the very loud, and very crowded cafeteria. Mom had a plate of food, and a flower.  "We wanted to make sure you got this, Jenny" she shouted to me.  I shouted back, "Thank you!" and then I looked at the potted plant in her hand.

It was a gorgeous hydrangea.  I tried to be all funny and tough but I couldn't stop the tears from welling up in my eyes.  I couldn't help it when my voice cracked and I tried to camoflauge my weepiness by bending over and asking her sweet little boy for a hug.

Hydrangeas and me..we go way back.  They have a special spot in my heart, and it wasn't until that moment, standing in an elementary school cafeteria accepting a gift of a potted hydrangea that I allowed myself to think about them and why they mean so much to me.

A lifetime ago I lived in a little house. I was married and I had four kids and one of the things I loved to do most was putter around the yard while my babies played in the warm spring/summer sun. Over the years, I planted dozens of things: hostas, phlox, ferns, sedum, every butterfly-attracting plant under the sun...and hydrangeas.

I loved my hydrangeas.  There was one spot, next to my front door, that was just perfect for a big hydrangea bush.  Every spring I planted one there, and at the end of every summer I cursed the location when it died.  And then, at the end of one summer, I had a survivor.  This little plant had thrived where others had withered and expired.  The tiny plant that I had lovingly patted down into the earth grew, and over the next few years it blossomed into a gorgeous, leafy lovely that gifted us with huge, fragrant globes of flowers every summer.  The delicate scent of the petals would greet me when I walked out the door in the mornings, and when we arrived home in the evenings.  I'd clip a few bouquets and set the vase on the table in our dining room, in our bedroom.

That plant made me happy.  And as my life changed, it was a reminder of survival and of resilience.

When I had to leave that house, it wasn't the old oak floors or the arched doorways I mourned.  It wasn't the paved patio or the ancient wooden swingset in the backyard that caused my heart so much pain.  It was the memories, of course.

The memories, and my plants.  In particular, the beautiful hydrangea by the front door.  Last spring, when I worked up the courage to drive by the "old" house, I took note of the greenery:  the hostas lining the driveway, the blue spruce we planted over the ashes of our beloved cat Bonkers, the five tiny lilac bushes I planted that were now tall, stately ladies adorned with purple and white corsages.  And my hydrangea.

There she was, the survivor next to the front door.  The one who thrived where others had wilted.  I said a silent thank you to the new owner of my old house, for keeping that plant alive.  For keeping it where it belongs.

I haven't planted anything new at this house, the rental we escaped to.  I brought a few of my hostas with us, a bunch of lilies and a peony.  But I haven't planted anything new. Perhaps I'm terrified to put down roots, literally.  Maybe it's laziness.  Most likely it's because this doesn't feel like home to me.

But thanks to a preschool mom, and a little potted hydrangea, this spring will be different.

There's a spot next to my front door, you see...a spot that would look just right with a hydrangea in full bloom.


Fat Ten on Fat Tuesday

Let's try this again, shall we? I posted this YESTERDAY which really was Fat Tuesday. A child of mine who I used to think of as a sweet and kind and soft love but who now ranks #1 on my Crappy Roommate list logged me out of everything on my computer and I lost half of this post.  Everything from 3 1/2 on down is done from memory.  You have been warned.

So apparently it's Fat Tuesday.  I will admit right here that I don't quite know what that means.  I do know that a lifetime ago there was a bar called Fat Tuesday's at the Mall of America and my then-roommate Lara and I drank like sailors at the grand opening. Other than that I have a loose grasp on the concept. I think it has to do with the fact that Lent starts this week.  Which I call "Countdown to Panic" because when Lent starts it's always cold and I can layer my lumberjack body in fleece, scarves and other fabric camouflage but by the time it's over my "oh shit it's spring and I'm still fat" panic is in full bloom.

I think Fat Tuesday is the day everyone eats and drinks all of the stuff they're going to give up for Lent. Since I haven't decided what I'm going to give up I guess it's kind of like Normal Tuesday for this lame Lutheran.

There hasn't been a Ten in some time.  So here ya go.

1.  New reality t.v. show idea:  "How Crappy Roommates are Made". Starring me, and my four children whom I used to call "kids" but I now call "the crappiest roommates EVER" (only once in a while though, and always muttered under my breath). Seriously..sometimes I imagine their future roommates and spouses calling me, in anger, saying "Did you raise them in a barn? With wolves? In a wolf barn??" because holy hell.  I may have not done such a great job raising these angels.  Seems my enabling style of parenting has created four giant toddlers who can't/won't do much anything to help around the house.  It wasn't until I started my new job in December, the one that keeps me working until 5:30 every night, that I realized I lived in a dirty fraternity house.  The only difference between my house and a frat is there is way less booze and no sex.  Other than that, they're pretty similar. I'm trying to be patient and kind and all Super Nanny about enlisting the kids to help out more, but some days Super Nanny gives way to Super Bitch. I wish there was a Mystical Mr Clean Magic Eraser that would wipe away last night.  Not one of my proudest moments as a parent...I came home at 6:30, after running to the store after work to get tampons for Molly and a head of cauliflower for me (don't ask...I'm back on the Weight Watchers). Get home to find freaking Armageddon in the kitchen because the kids were hungry and didn't want to wait for me to get home for dinner. So there was a pot of mac and cheese, a pan of couscous, remnants of ham and bread, the freezer door was ajar thanks to the ripped open box of waffles left all askew inside, and for some reason Charlie decided to brew a pot of coffee at 5:00 p.m. and left a trail of coffee grounds from fridge to coffee maker in case he forgot how to get there. Spend an hour cleaning it up (okay maybe not a full hour, but close) and then decide to plop down on the couch to watch my new favorite show "The Following".  Ten minutes in, a smackdown starts.  Doesn't matter which kids (okay it was Molly and William, and then Henry must have been feeling left out so he joined in) but it intensified quickly and I felt my blood starting to boil.  Because really, all I wanted to do was take a little break, put my feet up and look at Kevin Bacon. Is that so wrong?  The smackdown ended when I sat up and implored the children to PLEASE SHUT THE HELL UP.  Only I might have said something more profane than hell.  I cried a tiny bit, did some angry laundry and then tried to finish watching the Kevin Bacon show.  By this time they could tell I was in one of my Joan Crawford moods and decided to stop fighting and start doing homework.  They let me finish my show in what now passes for peace (answering biology questions and helping someone track down a light brown colored pencil and trying to get our ancient &#%@(# printer to work doesn't sound peaceful, but believe me, it is).  I felt my blood pressure go back to normal and decided that things were okay and that maybe I wouldn't sign up for the Peace Corps in the morning.

So we'll see what it's like when I get home tonight.

2. Phew. I think maybe I needed to vent.

3. Molly is going to Switzerland. Her BFF has family there and they asked if Molly could go with them over  Spring Break.  At first I balked. With a capital B. Molly persisted, said she'd pay for the plane ticket herself. I hesitated because the money she's saved up is supposed to be college money. She's worked really, really hard, every weekend and several days after school and has managed to save up a nice amount of $$$.  To see a large chunk of that depleted in one fell swoop gave me the twitches.

But then I had a thought:  I pictured my daughter at my age.  I pictured a 46 year old Molly looking back on her life, on her regrets and her rejoices. And I knew that going to Switzerland with her best friend when she was 17 was going to be one or the other.  So she's going.

We went to apply for her passport this past Saturday.  Her picture is beautiful.  Someday my 46 year old daughter will look at her old passport and smile.

4.  So one of my "fans" (still think we can come up with a different word for that...any ideas?) suggested this humble little blog for a contest seeking the Top 25 Single Mom Blogs.  To say in Yoda-speak:  Flattered I was.  I agreed, and then did something I've never done before: pimped for votes.  To be honest with you, I didn't even take a look at the website hosting the contest, and had no idea what the prize was for getting on this list. I was hoping it would be bags of money and a lifetime supply of Reduced Fat Wheat Thins, but when I delved into it yesterday I discovered that the winners basically get to say they are on a Top 25 list.

And when I looked at some of my "competition" I realized that I had just stepped into a pile of Mommy Bloggers.  Nothing against these fine women, after all we are in the same Single Mom boat, but I have never, ever considered myself a Mommy Blogger.  I don't post pictures of my kids wearing outfits I bought on Etsy.  I don't take Instagram pictures of slow-cooker meals in progress.  I don't have a whimsical brown/pink/orange header with the name of my blog watermarked everywhere in whimsical font.  I talk about petulant teenagers and fat arms and shitty ex-husbands.  Which I guess could be considered mommy talk? 

When comparing myself to the typical "Mommy Blogger" I feel like a pair of Levi's being compared to a pair of 7 for All Mankind jeans. And not skinny Levi's.  More like stonewashed, bootcut stretch Levi's.

But anyhoo.  If just one single mommy, a gal who isn't trying to find out how to make hair bows for her daughter or the best way to store her Christmas wrapping paper, a woman who is scared and sad and just wants to know that she's going to be OKAY, finds us through this contest?  So worth it.  So click on the link below, and vote for my badass self.  And you can go back EVERY FREAKING DAY and vote.  If you want.

Click here to vote or just to giggle at the ludicrousness of my blog being on this list.

5.  This past weekend we were hit with some crazy frozen rain and snow.  And I discovered that my little car absolutely sucks in frozen rain and snow. Like, stuck-four-times-in-an-hour sucks.  Once again, I depended on a wonderful family from our hockey team to get William to and from a tournament which was being held just north of Buttf*ck Egypt.  We carpool quite often, this family and ours, but I'm getting to the point of feeling like a massive mooch.  I wish we lived somewhere less arctic, like in Arizona, so I wouldn't find myself crying behind the wheel of a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe for Grownups that is stuck in a pile of snow.  But then I'd have to wear less clothing.  Rock and a hard place, I tell ya.  Wait..that doesn't really fit in this situation.  Double edged sword? No. Tit for tat?  Huh? Oooooh...the grass is always greener.  Kind of.

And that's the Ten.  What? What do you mean "pretty sure that's only five, Einstein"?  Look at number one.  That could easily be broken up into 4 paragraphs.  Besides, I have to get to work.

Now I'm off to preschool, a land of hugs, honesty and lately, a whole lot of poop. 

Have a great day, friends.  And for God's sakes, give your kids some fiber once in a while.


Judgment Day: A New Definition of Winning

I've been holding off on writing here, and for the few of you who have inquired about where I've been...I'm sorry!  Life has been busy, you know the drill..working (thank God), kids, feeding my insecurities..it's all so time consuming.

Here's something else that's been taking some of my creative mojo: The judgment from my case with Big Daddy came in.  It came in a couple of weeks ago, and I've been sort of processing it ever since.

Am I happy with it?  Well, I'm happy it's over.

I'm not entirely happy with the judgment itself, but to be honest with you I don't think any woman who has gone so long without child support, any woman who has lost so much and scrambled so hard to make ends meet would be happy with anything other than the a-hole ex-husband standing on her front steps with Scrooge McDuck moneybags in hand.

I'm naive. Optimistically naive. My view of justice is very black and white:  someone commits an injustice, they pay.  And in my Pollyanna world, they pay what they owe. They don't get four years to pay back four years of past due child support (interest free, too).  They don't get away with paying less than $50 per child, per month.  They don't get away with suddenly and mysteriously closing their bank account and start channeling funds through their wife's account.  To me, that's not justice.  That's a gray, blobby thing that doesn't even remotely resemble justice.  That's ten shades of shady, if you ask me.

But..I've been told by a couple of people that this judgment is a win for me, and more importantly, for the kids. Even though it's not close to what the kids are owed, it's something.  And I see the validity in this, I really do. I know that some of you who are reading this would give a kidney to get even ten minutes in court with the deadbeat who has robbed your kids of life's basic necessities.  I'm grateful for the pro-bono attorney.  I'm grateful for the chance to have my case seen and heard by a judge.  I'm grateful to have finally gotten even a taste of justice.

Most importantly? I'm grateful for the closure.

You see, this judgment is the final chapter in the seemingly endless child support saga between me and the father of my children.  It's the last keystroke in a lengthy story about a man and a woman and their little life together.

And for that, I'm grateful.  An ending, a conclusion, a swan song.  It's over.

It's finally, finally over.

For the past few weeks I've focused on what we didn't get.  The numbers don't add up, there is a pretty substantial amount of money that went up in smoke when this judgment was made.  That sucks.  But just like spilled milk, you can't cry over money that was never yours.  And so I'm drying my tears, I'm saying a prayer of thanks and I'm accepting this judgment.

I'm a firm believer in karma and the justice that we face outside of courtrooms...universal, spiritual justice. I believe that what you put out into the world is what you get back.  That's why, over the past few years, I've been trying my darnedest to put out good things.  I've been trimming the negative, the soul-draining and the poisonous.  Filling up the voids with light and positivity and most of all...with love. Because that's what I want to get back.

We can't choose what happens to us in this life. We can't predict who will come into our lives and what mark they'll leave.  We have no control over other people or the weather or gas prices or judges.

What we can control is how we choose to deal with all of it. For a long time, I let these things, these people and their actions soak into my skin like raindrops.  Big Daddy was a termite, and I was the wood.  Not anymore. 

So, thank you, Judge, for your time and for your findings. Thank you, Attorney Aladdin, for treating my pro-bono ass with respect and with kindness.  Thank you, friends, for putting up with my hand-wringing and pensiveness over the past few months.  And thank you, my lovely and resilient children, my babies, for reminding me every single day of what I should have known, and appreciated, all along:

I win. Every single day that I wake up and get out of bed...Every single day I share a laugh with a good friend...Every single day I spend time with my sons and my daughter...

I win.

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