Category Archives: PYHO

Be. {Pour Your Heart Out}

It didn’t start out as a mantra.

In fact, if we’re truth telling here, it started because I had yelled the night before.

So deep in frustration and beyond a reasonable reaction to the fact that my son could not recognize the word “my”, I stood in complete disbelief as he stood still, staring at the two letter word as if he’d never seen it.

My son could spell and recognize Harry Potter and Christmas from memory, but “my” was going to be a game changer?

Over my dead, word-loving, body.

So I ranted, raising my voice half an octave before stopping short of admonishing him which was, admittedly, not my finest hour.

We all went to bed that evening with sore throats and sore hearts.

The next morning, as I am apt to do, I crept into their room to shift bodies and sheets, wiping tiny whorls of hair away from sweaty, foreheads to kiss them goodbye before I ran off to work.

I whispered, “I love you most” into their ears, hoping my deep affection for them would creep in among their dreams but that day I added, “be smart” before I told them I’d love them forever and ever. Their sleepy selves’ readjusted, small hands and legs entwined as if they were back in their NICU incubators, and I could only hope they’d heard me.

But as we drove to work, a lump formed in the back of my throat and I found tears threatening.

Be smart.”

I’d meant it to be motivational but in that moment I worried that it sounded condescending. Didn’t I already think my son’s were intelligent little people?

Yes.

Yes, I did.

So the next morning when I sank to my knees at the edge of their bed and smoothed cowlicks away and kissed their sticky cheeks, I whispered, “Be kind. Be smart. I love you most.”

There is a power in kindness I wanted them to hang on to as they drifted from their dreams into their busy little boy days.

The days stretched into a week and a weekend when my sons (as little boys are apt to do) acted out, ignored simple tasks and sent my blood pressure soaring with their back talk and tom-foolery.

So on Monday morning when I found myself leaning over their messed sleep I found myself murmuring,

Be kind. Be smart. Behave! I love you most.”

No guilt with that one, reminding myself that I wasn’t unlike any other mom who knows her children, inside and out, good and bad. Asking them to behave throughout the day wasn’t a bad thing; it was simply a necessary request of growing boys.

And my little prayer for their day stayed that way for a week or so, until one morning, feeling very sentimental while starting down at their restful, dozy sleep, I found words just tumbling out of my mouth into their ears as grateful tears rolled down my cheeks:

Be kind. *kiss* Be smart. *kiss* Behave. *kiss*. Believe.”

It wasn’t until one morning, teetering on my three inch heels and hurrying through the incantation when I realized Gio’s mouth was moving in time with mine, even as he drifted in and out of his dreamy state.

Believe.” he repeated with me in a sleepy voice.

My wishes had found purchase in the minds of my children and I smiled as I imagined a life where our family prayer was always one of kindness and intelligence sprinkled with the certainty of magic.

Linking up with my amazing friend Shell and her weekly meme that allows us to Pour Our Hearts Out.

You can link up here too.

 

Asking for Help & A Kick in the Ass {Pour Your Heart Out}

This morning I started my day by reading this, my heart broke, my blood boiled, my skin flushed  and  then I read this and my heart exploded with the knowledge that maybe someone out there understood me, maybe someone was somewhere feeling the way I was. For a small and undeniable moment I felt the kick in the ass I have desperately needed.  For a small, undeniable moment I didn’t feel as alone as I have for the past year.

As a great lover of empowering quotes I could wax philosophical about how things that don’t kill you make you stronger, or build a case for how you must take the other, less traveled path or I could just come right out and say that I am responsible for my own happiness and admit that looking to the world around me for it is not only selfish but bound to disappoint me.

And yet here I am, asking.

Because sometimes you need a village, some days you just can’t do it alone.

I need a village.

There are people who will tell you that another person can’t take something from you unless you allow them to. I disagree. I think that some people can steal your pride, dignity and self worth from you as easily as they will cut you off in traffic or step in front of you in line without a backward glance. Maybe the worst lesson a person like me can learn is that some people will hurt you and never apologize.

I’ve watched some of my own relationships and friendships dissolve and bend until they broke, I have watched other relationships around me do the same and it sent me into a sad, lonely place. I’ve shared parts of myself with people that never deserved them because they weren’t careful with them. I felt lost and misunderstood, instead of being open and hopeful.

And every time I tried to pick myself up, dust myself off, read my empowering quotes and move on, I was pushed back by a moment or a memory. I heard my own ugly, spiteful inner voice chiding me for even trying to crawl out of this hole. STAY WHERE YOU ARE.

I learned just how hard it is to give yourself a much needed kick in the ass.

I also learned how hard it is to be good to the people in my life if I cannot find the courage to be good to myself.

But this morning, I was reminded that the world I am a part of, here on the internet, is just as confused as I am. There are pauses and times when we know we should have done something, but we don’t. We sit, we wallow, we excuse ourselves from the world until our voices comes back. We don’t always have all the answers.

 

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Maybe it’s the light bulb moment I’ve been waiting for while I burrowed under the covers and hid from myself. Maybe what I needed to hear and read and KNOW was that I wasn’t alone. I’m learning that there is no sin in asking for a hand to hold, that power does come in numbers. That if I need a kick in the ass it’s okay to ask for some help with that.

Today, I’m asking for it. I’m asking you to tell me what I mean to you or tell me to keep writing. Tell me you like the way I curse like a sailor in real life or that you enjoy the shoe icons in my header.

Tell me anything, something, everything.

Tell me, knowing that if you were asking me to do the same for you that I would shower you with cupcakes and encouragement. I would remind you how much you mean to me.  I would show you that you are so not alone.

Because you aren’t.

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POUR MY HEART OUT with Shell today.

Thank you Arenbya, Kristin, Rita and Empty the Well for the inspiration and kick in the ass today.

 

Half of My Heart (Pour Your Heart Out)

 

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Earlier this year my mom and stepdad got into their car and spent the better part of May cruising down the east coast with states like North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia in their sites. They had carefully planned their excursion, their eyes starry and wide open to the beginning of the third chapter of their lives.

I say third because I always think that the first chapter of their lives was the one that involved different spouses and raising the children of those marriages. The second chapter of their lives began ten years ago when they married one another and now as they stamped “RETIRED” onto their resumes it was time to give serious consideration to the place where they would grow old together and write that joyful third chapter.

I’ve known this was coming. Our whole family has known that as soon as my stepdad put away his button down shirts and ties that the plan included the sale of their houses here in the northern half of the country and a move south.

My brain knew but it seems my heart still hasn’t gotten the memo.

I remember being an angsty twenty-something and declaring quite emphatically, that “I never wanted (or needed for that matter) to live near my mom.” I was a typical woman-child and completely convinced that I would be independent and capable of taking care of myself for the rest of my life. I certainly didn’t need my mom.

Of course, I was wrong. Completely, utterly and thankfully WRONG.

Mothers are the ones who give roots and wings. Just read any back- to- school post that has been published in the last month and you’ll see that. Our children are moving away from us from the moment we take them in our arms. We, as their moms, are put in charge of making a heart and a home that always welcomes them back, from the time they wave to us from the bus on that first day of school.

It’s a delicate, heart-breaking and heart-filling, dance that never really stops.

It didn’t stop when I went away to college or when moved into my first or seventh apartment, it didn’t stop when I endured my first or my sixty-eighth broken heart. It didn’t slow down when I went from being a single girl to an engaged woman or a blushing bride. The music still played and we still tapped, shuffled, swayed and waltzed as I survived those years of infertility and welcomed a pregnancy and then the boys into our family.

Plus with every dance, I ended up moving closer to her; emotionally and geographically. While my siblings are hours from her, I revel in the fact that my mom can watch the boys grow up from twenty minutes away. She is never too far; she is available for dinners and celebrations, birthday parties and last minute babysitting. My mom can drop in on any given night and when she does my heart is happy to have her not only in our home but in our lives.

She has always been my compass. My North Star and having her close is comforting.

She is the other half of my heart, the part that completes me.

But her new chapter is starting.  For Sale signs hang in the windows of their houses and two venues have been chosen, Georgia or Florida. None of them is only two towns away so each one feels like it’s just too far away.

Just like you’d never stop your children from taking their first steps or blazing their own trails, I am reminded that my wish for her to stay close is born of my own fear and selfishness.

While my mom was making her way down the eastern seaboard my I was reading the sequel to Life From Scratch, called Measure of Love by my good friend Melissa Ford. There was a line in the book that hit me in the chest and has stayed on my mind for months now.

“I can’t believe that she left me to the most important grieving I may ever do on my own. Without her next to me.”- from Measure of Love by Melissa Ford.

The simple truth is that my mom is not dying or even leaving me, she will be only a plane or car ride away. Phones, emails and face time will make it possible for us to talk and see one another whenever we want. Plus there will vacations/visits in beautiful places.

So why does like half of my heart hurt so? 

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Pouring My Heart with Shell from Things I Can’t Say. 

A Big Weepy, Messy Ball of Confusion (Pour Your Heart Out)

We came home from the beach; rested, tanned and a little glum.

It’s never easy saying goodbye to the places that refresh your soul.

The vacation was needed, for all us. It gave us family time: laughter time, lake time, holding-hands time. Staying-up-late and sleeping-in time, nothing –on- but- a- bathing-suit time all happening with a golden sun in the sky and gentle breeze cooling us when the walk from sand to sea felt too taxing.

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But I also held back tears as we drove away, the red FOR SALE sign peeking out from the window off the living room where the boys challenged each other in Wii golf, tennis and baseball when we weren’t busy making sand castles.

It might be our last summer at the marina house if things go as planned for my retired parents.

My cheeks were slick with salty tears as I finally admitted that this time we were coming home not to settle into a year’s old routine but rather to ready ourselves for a new one.

I’ve been staring off into space most of this week, trying to capture every feeling and like fireflies not being able to close the lid long enough to save them.

I’ve walked into the daycare that has helped raise my sons every morning this week with a pounding heart, teary eyes and shaking knees. Oh how  I will miss those walls, those bulletin boards, those AMAZING, WONDERFUL, INSPIRATIONAL women who have taken good care of MY FAMILY these last five years. How do I ever thank them for all they’ve done?

I am reluctant to leave, so I stand rooted in place these days, just like I in the ocean, digging my toes in and holding on, quietly hoping for just a “few more minutes.”

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Words are not coming easy.

Emotions, however, are.

I am weepy, nostalgic, scared and excited.

I am nervously nauseous, butterflies the size of jet airliners spinning in my tummy.

Trying to collect my thoughts.

 

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My sons must be feeling the same because they vacillate between palpable eagerness to become Kindergartners to sullen and teary moments of doubt and confusion.

I’m going to miss my friends, mommy. The ones that I know. I know their names. The ones who know that I love Harry and Narnia.”

I was a good mother, I told Jacob and Giovanni that they would make new friends, have new adventures, learn incredible new stuff, but my heart knew what they were really saying.

Everything is changing and I’m afraid.”

And my heart silently answered, “I know, me too.”

I took them one by one up onto my lap and kissed the top of their sun-kissed hair.

Endings, beginnings, memories and anticipation flood my dreams.

So I stand here, a weepy, messy ball of confusion as the winds of change swirl around us.

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My miracle sons, my baby boys, start Kindergarten on Monday, August 26th.

UNBELIEVABLE. 

Pouring my Heart Out with Shell this week.

I’m Proof That Ignorance is Bliss {Pour Your Heart Out}

Last month my sons graduated from Pre-K.

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Jacob the CLASS ACTOR, Giovanni the YOUNG MATHEMATICIAN

Unless you follow me on social media sites, you probably didn’t know that because here in The Corner I am living in a constant state of denial about their age, about the fact that they are starting Kindergarten in a little more than a month, about the changes that are going to be in place when I have children who “Go to School.”

To me it’s just not possible that the little boys I struggled for 4 years and then 35 long, scary, OMG weeks to bring into this world are old enough to be ready for Kindergarten.

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The class sang about 10 songs from the ABC’s, to the Isty Bitty Spider,

to Baby BumbleBee to illustrate all the songs 

they have learned since the Infant Room. (Cue: TEARS) 

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I’m normally okay with change. I’m not much of a planner anyway so I can generally be persuaded into ignoring “that which I don’t really feel like dealing with” but with this it’s almost as if I am making a concerted effort to just look the other way and wave my hands as if to say…”NOT TALKING ABOUT IT! MY GOD WE HAVE TIME..LOTS OF TIME BEFORE THIS HAPPENS!”

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But you all know that’s not true (and sadly so do I).

August 26th is going to be here before I know it and that means that changes are afoot.

Slowly but surely I am trying to embrace  the inevitable.

So on Monday we ventured to (the 8th ring of hell) Toys R Us and a mere 45 minutes later we walked out with new backpacks and lunch boxes.

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We’ve interviewed and hired (thank you Care.com) a babysitter for the mornings who will come in from 6-8am, get the boys dressed, fed and on the bus every morning so that we can get to work and be able to pick them up by 5pm every night. She’s awesome and I’m excited about adding her to our “family”. (Her claim to fame?In her 20′s she worked for the Bon Jovi family..yes! that one!)

Lately:

I only cry in the privacy of my own bathroom when I realize that I’m going to  need to buy higher heels or Gio is going to be taller than me sooner than later.

I only laugh in the privacy of my own bathroom when I see Jacob pretend to be Harry Potter or Willy Wonka or a “Godfather” (Jacob is currently SMITTEN with Catholic Church and everything about it since we started going to mass with them back in April in preparation for their Catholic School education. Instead of using the term “PRIEST” he prefers “The GodFather” ..which actually makes sense if you think about it and stop laughing. )

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I have lots of funny stories about my sons that I’m just not telling here. Instead I get lost in a fictional world and story. It’s not that I don’t want to share Giovanni and Jacob with you, I think it’s more that they are a part of my life that I want to keep for myself.

But I will tell you…

That they love doing the Geico commercial with the CAMEL> HUMP DAY!

Funniest thing you will ever hear is when Gio will say “Guess. WHAT. DAY.IT.IS.”

Jacob’s love affair of church has extended to him singing the Alleluia and Gloria whenever and wherever he feels like it and every day we walk into daycare now to be told that he has performed a mass that day. (I guess we can stop going to church on Sundays. LOL)

 

Gio loves cars and math and is a CANDY CRUSH aficionado. In fact,  if you can’t get past a level just hand over your phone/tablet/mouse, he’ll work it out. He’s sensitive and funny, he’s introspective and so smart it scares me sometimes.

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Giovanni June 2013

Jacob is an ACTOR. He is impatient and distracted, he is creative and draws better than any 5 yr old I know. He can recite movies in British accents and is already so fashionable and outgoing.

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Jacob June 2013

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Both boys are friendly, kind and empathetic (Unless it’s with each other and then they are beating the crap out of each other).

Girls adore them and they eat it up, enjoying the females in their classes as much as the boys.

 

and me, well I’m just coasting along.

I know it’s coming.

Kindergarten is coming.

Our goodbye to the daycare/dayschool(and every incredible teacher and staff member who has helped us raise our children for the past 5 years) they have been students of since they were 6 months old is coming.

and I don’t know if I’ll ever really be ready for any of it, but I know it’s coming and when I’m not denying it, I’m trying to embrace it too.

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 Pouring my Heart Out with Shell at Things I Can’t Say. 

I Miss Talking To People {Pour Your Heart Out}

I miss talking to people.

That sounds a bit selfish and (quite frankly) dumb doesn’t it, since for many of us it feels like that’s all we do?

But I do.

Or since I’m a mom, you’re probably thinking that I’m referring to the phenomenon that takes place once you have children. You know that strange moment where you wake up one day and realize that you are conversing in stilted speech and benign topics so that when you are finally in the company of other people your height all you talk about is your children.

But that’s not what I’m talking about either.

I miss talking to people.

Not tweeting them, or texting them or even sharing a facebook chat with them that takes on more than 200 characters.

I miss talking with other human beings for longer than 20 seconds or the time it takes to come up with a witty comeback.

I miss discussions that need time and attention, the debates and dialogues that simmer where you each take a turn mulling over your own thoughts or interrupting one another because you are bursting with things to say, to impart, to share.

You’re going to tell me that there has never been a time like this in history, when the masses are as connected to one another as we are right now, aren’t you?

But I disagree.

We are connected and yet, we are not.(I’m made incredible friends inside this screen and I adore every one of them, I long to TALK to them.)

Sure, if I’m awake at 2am I can open Facebook or Twitter and fire off a status or a line or two of drivel, I might even find a good friend to share my nocturnal insomnia with, but it’s not going to come close to the 2am discussions I used to have in a quiet residence hall hallway or on the (un)comfortable couch of my first apartment. It’s not even going to come close to the way I used to talk to other people before social media became its own catch phrase.

I used to think that I missed my college days simply because of the boys and booze but the simple truth is that I miss those carefree days because it was the only time in my life when I shared ideas freely, when my opinion resounded in my own ears, when I woke up with things to say and I said them.

You’re a blogger. A writer” you say, as if this gives me an outlet for the discussions spinning in my brain. Until I remember that I shouldn’t publish something more than 500 words, whether it’s memoir or fiction, because no one will read it.

It comes down to the fact that I think all of us (me included) have adjusted to the attention span of a five year old.  As it happens five year olds I know and we’ve become a nation of them. I talk for more than seventy five seconds and I’ve lost you.

It’s not even that people don’t want to talk, it’s that we can’t. We’re running, we’re busy, we’re so engrossed in our 140 character conversation that we’ve lost the ability to slow down long enough for fear that we’re going to miss something somewhere else.

“I’ll call you…” has become a promise that none of us keep in this era of firing off a text message, updating a status or simply letting a call go to voicemail  ( hey I do it all the time too) , I mean honestly when is the last time you had a true phone conversation that made you feel heard?

Lately, I’ve been attending a lot of kids’ birthday parties. I am enjoying them very much because while the children bounce, giggle and load themselves with candy and ice cream I can mingle among the parents, moms and dads who are like minded and talk but finding myself wanting to get every thought out of my head while I have the time.  I often leave those parties  still aching for an outlet for what I thought about that book, that movie, my choice of sending the boys to Catholic school etc.

*sigh*

I miss talking to people.

(and I just realized this post is too long. Sheesh)

How about you, do you feel more or less connected these days?

Pouring my heart out with Shell today.

What the Boy Who Lived is Teaching My Sons about the Boy Who Didn’t {Pour Your Heart Out}

I worried at first.

I wondered what their little minds would take in, I wondered if they were too young, if there would be too many questions I wasn’t ready to answer, I thought about just saying no.

Then I considered what other parents would say, what they would think about my decision. At an age where their peers know all about Dora and Blue and Spongebob, they knew about Ebenezer, Willy Wonka and Harry Potter.

Their love affair with Harry Potter began at just shy of four years old and has continued with a passion and interest that even I couldn’t have foreseen. As little boys their attention and devotion change as easily as a summer wind but something about that boy wizard has taught my sons about love, about hate and about caring for other people. They simply can’t get enough of his stories.

Unlike many parents this week, I didn’t shy aware from telling my sons about what happened in Boston. My eyes shed the tears of a heart that has grown weary, angry and afraid of the hate that seems to want to take all the light out of our world and I couldn’t hide that from the boys.

Like most of my emotions, I feel them out in the open, I grieve and celebrate in full view of everyone.

So when we came home and turned the news on, waiting for the updates, my head resting on John’s arm as tears leaked out of me, my sons were busy playing with cars and milling around us, pausing to look up at the TV when they would replay the blasts.

Jacob: “Mommy what happened?”

Me: “Some very bad people did a very bad thing today, they put a bomb…”

Gio: “A bomb that blows up?”

Me: “yes, a bomb that blows up…”

Gio: “and hurts people?”

Me: “yes, it hurt a lot of people…”

Gio: “oh I’m so sorry mommy, that is a very bad thing to do.”

And then my Gio hugged me, came over to hug me and burrowed his head until he was sitting against my chest.

I kissed the top of his head as Jacob came over and schooched onto my lap. Looking me right in the eyes.

“those people are mean like Voldemort?”

My eyes leaked as I kissed his temple “ yep buddy, they are just like him. Mean and full of hate.”

Jacob looked away, “it’s because they don’t have any love, right? I mean Harry says that he feels sorry for Voldy because he has no love in his heart. So these bad people must not love anyone or hug anyone.”

I held my sons next to me for a very long time after he said that.

I worried that the movies would be too much for them, that the violence, the snakes and death, the nuances of the back story would be lost on them.

I was wrong.

As a parent I’ve made some questionable decisions for them, by anyone’s standards. Maybe I let too much of the world in sometimes and allow them the answers to things that other parents would shy aware from or consider them too young to grasp. Yet in the wake of another little boy’s death I’ve found that my choice to let in the boy wizard has produced the sort of magic he practices.

Their devotion…

Jacob: “I love Harry and I believe in Harry because he is all about the love.”

has taught them not only about evil in the world and how it can destroy things, but it’s also given them a hopeful and beautiful message about what LOVE can do to that hate. How is can obliterate it as surely and as completely as a favorite spell.

I am reeling for the victims, the survivors and the whole of our country, no wait, our world. My endless optimism wants so badly to believe that out of everything bad, some good can come and that from every hateful act, one of LOVE and REDEMPTION can spring.

I am holding tightly to that thought as I think of spring in Boston, the lobster bisque in Quincy Market, my faded footprints on the FREEDOM TRAIL and my love and fascination with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

My prayers are escaping my lips as I remember riding the T and wandering around Copley Square.

And while my heart is heavy with the losses it is also lighter knowing that my sons can see the light in the darkness .

Love is the only answer, thankfully my sons know that because of the boy who lived.

 

Sending love and light to Boston.

 There are so many posts about Boston. Thoughtful, wonderful, sincere pieces. This is what I hope is mine.

Please keep Boston in your thoughts and LOVE (always LOVE) in your hearts.

(Linking with Shell for Pour Your Heart Out)

How I Tell My Story {Pour Your Heart Out}

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My voice.

Everyone is busy searching for their voice right now, pouring over their words, choosing the ones that said something this year and hoping that they spoke to the heart of their audience.

I did it too; I took a journey through my words and realized that my voice was missing.

From the outside, I saw a blog that bulged with fiction. Stories and tales, their free fringes hanging loose and ready for a prompt, a picture or a provocation to move the plot along.

Characters and people who existed in my imagination filling up the spaces of my corner of the internet.

I used fancy words, I designed poems and sentences that spoke of strength, wisdom and heartbreak, but none of those pieces will be featured in the Huffington Post, not one of them is going to earn me the right to write for a parenting site or produce a viral sensation.

No, my stories  might have been beautiful, intricate, intimate and heartfelt but they were not written with a journalistic touch.

They were very few memoirs this year that told my story.

And so many things happened this year in the world(in my world) that were worthy of my words, but looking around this place it seems I chose to put them in the mouths of characters, their personifications acting like a stand in for me.

I have never used this space as a soapbox, not even when I was in the middle of my infertility. I spoke about it of course, it was after all the reason I signed into BLOGGER and brought this corner to life, but I never became a voice in the wilderness for it.

Not here.

My life has many stories that could use a soapbox; parts of me that have been exposed in tiny amounts and cloaked in verbiage but never given the spotlight they deserve.

I think it’s because I never wanted to have those things become my whole story.

I didn’t want the labels of what I had endured to become my story.

Survivor of domestic violence as a child

Survivor of molestation from ages 10-12 at the hands of a relative

Child of an alcoholic father who suffered from PTSD

Daughter of a working mom of the 1980’s with big ambitions and precious little time to attend basketball games or be home in time to make/serve/clean up dinner.

The girl with a reputation who was “promiscuous” and probably deserved the 5 times she was date raped in her life. (Women like that ask for it don’t we?)

A young woman, who was talked about, judged and bullied long before that word went viral.

A woman who has suffered from bouts of depression and anxiety on and off her whole life

A woman who takes an anti depressant

A woman who has endured heartbreak and been too naïve or gullible to realize that blaming only herself is a cowardly act

A woman with a checkered past

An infertility survivor

A mom who works outside her home

A mom with children in daycare

 

I have several posts inside me that are burning, reaching, possibly even screaming to get out. Yet I have found that this year I made a clear choice to put tape on my own mouth and I gave the microphone to the muse inside my head instead.

Or at least I thought, at first glance, that I had.

Until I looked again and there I was.

Nestled neatly inside 33 character sketches, bellowing out among 100 words or 17 syllables, asking forgiveness, clarity or acceptance with every keystroke, sharing parts of my story every time I hit publish.

There they were; my thoughts on gun control, my opinions on gay marriage, the love I had not only for my children but for the children of Newtown, the horror (and long subdued shame) I felt about date rape,  and the depression I was desperately trying to climb out of (again).

For various reasons, I turned to the clan of my imagination, allowing them to bellow, cheer, love unconditionally, negotiate, pontificate or seek revenge or closure for me. I don’t know it that was courageous, cowardly or just plain lazy but over and over again this year it was the way I chose to express myself.

In retrospect I believe it was simply a way to heal, to process and still be able to tell my story.

To think:  my words, my voice, my thoughts were here all the time.

I had just chosen a different way to express them.

So if you ever came by to read and all you saw was fiction, chances were that story was just one way that I was  writing my way out.

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This is a post I have wanted to share for a long time.

I am so glad that Shell gives us a place to do that with POUR YOUR HEART OUT.

(thank you my friend)

Five is Fabulous (Yep I was surprised by it too)

It’s no secret.

For me:

One was Overwhelming.

Two was Terrible.

Three was Torture. ( I often (& loudly) exclaimed that I wasn’t sure all 4 of us would make it to 4)

Four was Frustrating.

You’d think for all the time I waited, prayed and hoped to be granted the moniker of “Mommy” I would enjoy the job more, but due to a combination of things I haven’t really enjoyed this gig until recently.

I wasn’t enjoying motherhood.

Muddling through it, faking my way among the other moms, desperately trying to keep up the facade of being in control of our lives and not showing how much I missed the freedom of being childless.

I would stare back into the eyes of people that would coo, “How do you do it?” and inwardly sigh. “I’m NOT doing it. I’m on autopilot and thank god that a have an awesome village (daycare, my family, my incredible, amazing husband) helping to cover my ass.

The infertility was the first part, it steals so much happiness from you (much like the dementors of Harry Potter) that once you hold your child(ren) you can’t help but prepare yourself for the inevitable shoe to drop.

Maybe it was my advanced maternal age of 38 years old when they were born and my deep love of sleeping, showering and the constant noise of television.

Then there was the whole issue of our first child, being umm, two children.

Two children who are different as night and day, two children who may be dressed alike but are so completely opposite under those clothes that you wonder how they ever got along in such a small space for 35 weeks, two children who by all accounts should reach milestones together but didn’t get that memo and did they own thing, in their own sweet times.

Or it was a big crock pot of all of it. Simmering on low for 5 long years.

I just didn’t enjoy the first four years.

Not at all.

I felt helpless and completely out of my element. I didn’t share the bated breath wishes of any of the other moms like “don’t grow up too fast”. In fact, my prayers as my eyes would close most nights consisted of words like “Hurry up and potty train!”, “Please for the love of God, get sick of that nuk before your grandma gives me another complex about your dependence on it” and “it sure would be nice if you could feed yourself, dress yourself and get your OWN MILK!”

Let me be clear.
I love my sons.
LOVE them.
Their smells, their personalities, their little hands in my own.

I love the way they look at me and I could pick out their toes, giggles or “moooooommmmmm” from a mile away.

It was more about my attitude toward this job of motherhood and the various things that each age brought along with it that I felt less than equipped to handle. I know it’s stupid think that parenting would be easy, but a small part of me wanted it to be. (Yeah, I’m shaking my head at me too.)

But something about this year has changed me. I stand in awe most days at the conversations we have, how their little brains are developing and how much fun they are. Every day they say or do something that just slays me and I am so proud of their manners, their use of the right “tense” (90%) of the time and of course, their ability to feed themselves.

For the first time in my tenure as mommy to Giovanni and Jacob, I have found myself quietly wishing for them to stay this age a little longer, quietly hoping that they never lose this inquisitiveness and creativity. I have wanted to stop time, in order to hug them a little longer, in order to hear their opinions on love, life and the various characters of Harry Potter, in order to hear “mommy” instead of ‘mom” for a little longer.

Motherhood is not any easier.

Motherhood is not going to get any easier.

But while I wished away those first 4 years, hanging on for dear life to my sanity, I am finding  that 5 is Fabulous.

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Pouring My Heart Out with Shell today.

 

 

 

I Love You Just the Way You Are (Pour Your Heart Out)

Unless you’re new around these parts, you know that my son Jacob loves to dress up.

As Santa.

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As Scrooge.

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As Willy Wonka.

As Harry Potter.

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It’s so much a part of him, that I hardly pay attention anymore.  It’s become normal to see him in a cape, using a straw as a wand or fashioning his plastic grocery cart and stuffed ponies into a sleigh.

And if I’m being honest about it, I love this wonderfully creative side of him. I mean, yes, it’s funny when he’ll say something profound like, “I can’t wear the Scrooge hat to be Willy mom, because Willy’s hat is purple and this is black” and it can be frustrating when, the beard for his Santa outfit finally arrives and he declares that he will needing another new beard, “a curly one, like the one in Fred Claus” for a month afterwards.

But underneath it all, is the soul of a little boy who loves to play and pretend.

As parents, I believe John and I have always tried to encouraged and celebrate the talents and of each boy without passing judgment on either of them. I mean Gio loves cars and names them after every sports team he can learn, (many times letting the matchbox that represents the DEVILS or the PHILLIES win, much to the heartache of his NY loving daddy).

There are days when we are leaving the house and Jacob is still deciding who he will be. I will see him contemplating the part he wants to play and by the time we get buckled into the car, he is sporting a costume of some kind.

So it happened on a day back in January that we were going into New Jersey to visit my mother in law and Jacob had decided that he would take all the trappings of being Ebenezer. The hat, the coat (the fireman coat from an older costume), his black leather gloves and the plastic part of a microphone stand that he felt made a much better walking stick all found their way into our car.

We visited with family and then made our way to a very large, very busy mall. The wind whipping when we parked so I tried to talk my son out of bringing along his costume, but instead of a putting a heavy jacket on, he proved his stubborn Capricorn spirit and got out of the car, holding his walking stick.

For the first time ever in the lives of our sons, my husband looked at Jacob and snickered.
“Jacob, you can’t go into the mall dressed like that! Everyone will laugh at you, you look silly.”

My own eyes welled as I just looked at the man I married, “What are you doing?” I hissed through my teeth. “You can’t tell him that!”

“C’mon honey, it’s freezing” he said, grabbing Gio’s hand and propelling him to the sidewalks.

Tears pricking at the corner of my eyes, I looked down at Jacob. “Buddy, are you sure you want to go into the mall like this?”

His little face was undeterred, “Yep. Let’s go.” His voice sing-songy.

He held my hand on one side, on the other; he imitated the limp he had perfected over the past two years, through crosswalks, in between cars and right up into Macy’s.

Once inside, I asked again, if he wanted to shed any of the costume.

“NO.” he answered.

So we walked and I watched people watch my son. You see from the time they were born, everyone has always paid attention to my sons. From the busy city streets of New York City to the hallways of our local malls, eyes are drawn to both of them and this day was no different. Yet, on that day, I watched them see past the similarities of clothes and faces, and see that one child was cruising the mall dressed in a black coat, a plastic HAPPY NEW YEAR top hat and walking with a limp.

Many of the teenagers loved this, their smiles starting at Jacob and stopping at my own as they lifted their eyes to me. Of the others (other parents and people of different colors and cultures), some were concerned “Why is he limping?, some others thought him cool and eccentric “nice hat buddy!”, “love your costume!” and of course there were those that just didn’t get it, “Why is she letting him dress like that?” , “who is he supposed to be?” accompanied by snickering laughter that can only mean that they are making fun of him.

I hated thinking that they felt that way about a little boy who was just enjoying the fun in pretending and I couldn’t believe that maybe John felt that way about Jacob too.

I looked down at my very creative little son and said, “I think you’re the coolest Jakey, I love when you dress up.”

“I make a very good Scrooge” he agreed.

And later, when John and I were alone, we talked about how he felt. How we as parents had to let Jacob be who he was, even if it meant that it might make us uncomfortable from time to time. We agreed that our job was to protect him from the hate and misunderstanding of the world, not to perpetuate it.

Since then, John and I have talked a lot about how there will be plenty of times in their growing up when we might not agree with the “costumes” they choose, but we have to respect their choices.

The most important thing is to let our sons know that we love them, just the way they are, and that we accept Jacob (or whoever he is today.) *wink*

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to Shell and her amazing Link 

Pour Your Heart Out.

Thank you for 3 years of letting us have a soft place to unburden our hearts my friend.

Here’s to 3 MORE!

CHEERS!