Submit to Scary Mommy again…and they featured my article yesterday. Sorry for the late share, but if you’d like to hop on over there, hear a bit about my motherhood story and some of the responses I got to people discovering I was going to be a mother of three.
I went through a year of horrendous online dating before I met the man who became my husband. I wasn’t exactly a poster girl for the most eligible bachelorette, but none of my hold-ups were much excuse for the sort of men I met. I was 24 years old and a full time student. I worked part time, lived with my parents, was divorced, and had two children under the age of five. I’m not an unattractive woman, but men weren’t exactly beating down my door to date me. More so, I knew that I needed a companion, not just a boyfriend.
I couldn’t seem to even meet a normal, down to earth man. Things became enough of a joke around the house that my mother would sit up at night and wait for me to get home, collapse on her bed and giggle while sharing all the terrible details of my odd nights out.
There was the man who was allergic to everything. I gave him an innocent kiss after our date, forgetting that I had eaten a piece of chicken, and almost killed him.
Then there was the guy who asked me to hold his belt while in the mall so I wouldn’t get lost.
The man who took the menu out of my hand and ordered food for me like I was three.
The guy who took me to a movie and proceeded to move down to the front row where there was only one open seat to “see better,” leaving me alone.
The man who figured out where I worked and spent an hour walking around the store trying out different women’s lotions before finally admitting he was one of the men I had denied a date request from on an online site.
The guy who took me shopping and then proceeded to tell me how I should dress.
The gentleman who stripped naked in his parent’s living room while I used their restroom.
By the time I got around to talking to Mak, I was pretty wary of dates. A whole year of these kinds of dates will do that to a woman. I had a whole safety set-up – complete with emergency friend phone calls lined up and pepper spray.
Mak invited me over for dinner. I had such a good time that I ended up coming home and looking him up on Google and the case search program to see if he had some shady criminal past hiding. There had to be something wrong, considering my past history with online dating. He had a speeding ticket. That was it. Needless to say, I was impressed.
The next morning we had a quick conversation.
“I’m not really interested in playing around,” he said. “I like you. Let’s make this serious.”
If any other man I’d gone on a date with had said that to me I’d have gone running for the hills.
“Okay,” I said.
I don’t know why. I’d hate to chalk it up to some sort of fate thing, but maybe part of me knew he wasn’t a psycho killer. Maybe there was some deeper connection. Maybe I was just really brave.
Within a few weeks he had met my children and included them in our outings.
“Go get the orange egg out of the fridge,” I told him.
He got up and I heard the fridge door open. After a moment it closed again and he came back to the couch.
“Well…” I started.
“Well what?” He asked.
“What did you think?” I asked. It was the first time I’d attempted to tell the man I loved him and he was being completely stubborn about the whole thing.
“It’s cute,” he said.
“And…” I lead him.
“I love you, too,” he said. “You know that.”
By the end of the year he had moved in. We were blessed in our relationship. There hadn’t been many of the big challenging moments. His father passed a few weeks before our wedding, but it was expected, and while we mourned it hadn’t surprised us. Their relationship had been so strained, for so long. It was the first time though that I ever saw him cry – a moment that I think is imprinted in my memory. There is something about seeing a strong man mourn, something heartbreaking and frightening and so real it hurts that one simply doesn’t forget it.
I remember standing by his father’s bed. He sat in a chair across the room from me. I went to him, but he didn’t reach for me. I stepped back – gave him space. I didn’t know how to handle his grief. He took a few moments to himself and I watched him. I watched the years, the pain, the neglect from that relationship wash away. For those few moments there was love.
There hadn’t been many of those bring-you-to-your-knees moments. We didn’t even really fight or argue. We were thankful to have found a companion in one another that shared a similar sense of humor. Laughter got us through any time things seemed to be getting dark.
He stepped into the role of father as if it were all he’d ever known. It was never a look-at-me exercise, but came naturally. There was a gaping hole in our little family and he saw it, stepped into it, and never looked back. It was in the quiet way he made that transition that still never fails to amaze me.
He has a silent strength in him. A code of ethics that can’t be argued or even discussed. They simply are.
Perhaps it’s because of his quiet nature that people find him intimidating. Combining that with the sleeves of tattoos and long dark hair, it’s quite understandable. However, anyone watching him drink tea from a tiny porcelain cup with my daughter would realize how wrong they are.
Four years after that first date and I was talking to my brother in California, planning his trip home to visit.
“When is he coming home?” Mak asked.
“The end of June,” I said.
“Good,” he said. “We’ll get married then.”
Proposal. Date set. End of discussion.
I had a month to get everything planned and ready.
I love you, too. You know that.
After our wedding we decided to have a baby. A few short months later and I was excitedly waving those little pink lines around in the air. We were so excited we told everyone.
We were at his mother’s for a belated Thanksgiving dinner when I started miscarrying. My husband had the kids in the car while I stood white knuckled on the phone with the emergency room and watched my father-in-law toss the kids’ toys into their book bags. Hours and many tests later the doctor gave us the news.
“There’s no heartbeat.”
I’d known when I saw her face. I’d been crying since she came into the room. I looked across the room at my husband. I expected him to get up, to come to me. The doctor left and he still sat there for a few moments. In that space between us I watched him break, hit his emotional knees, mourn, and grieve. I watched him as he cared for himself and then he came to me. He put himself behind and cared for me.
For the following days he held me while I cried and found whatever ways he could to make me smile. We found laughter in the darkest moments. We suffered. We healed.
We spent months talking back and forth about whether or not to try again. The entire process had frightened him so badly. I learned to appreciate what pregnancy can do to a man. It’s a terrifying situation, especially for one who tends to like to be in control of things. There is no control with pregnancy.
He couldn’t see what was happening inside my body.
He couldn’t control what was happening.
He couldn’t stop me from being in pain, from hurting.
All he could do was be there and hope that I would heal.
“I’m not sure we should try again,” Mak said.
We were lying in bed, the lights off and waiting for one or both of us to become too tired to keep talking.
“You don’t want one of your own?” I asked.
“They are my own,” he said.
A few nights later we were repeating this whole thing again. It was like a record skipping, playing backwards, flinging all over the place. I never knew where we’d end up.
“We could try again,” he said.
“We’re not doing anything to stop it from happening,” I answered.
“If it does, it does,” he’d agree.
Three months of this back and forth indecision plagued us.
Finally he said, “I don’t think we should try again.”
“I’m pregnant,” I said.
We collapsed against one another laughing. For weeks we were quiet. We were so careful not to tell people too early. We went to each appointment with our heart in our throats. Every test was a negative, dangerous thing. Every symptom I had was cause to worry. We struggled to find joy.
Mak kept warning me not to get my hopes up.
I kept countering that he needed to not think so negatively.
We flew past each other, both of us on separate ends of our own emotional roller-coasters.
“Are you happy about the baby?” I finally asked him.
“Of course,” he said. “You know that.”
I love you, too. You know that.
I am five months pregnant today. A few weeks ago we went to the doctor and we got to hear the heartbeat. The tiny whomp whomp whomp sound filled the room. I was laid back on the bed watching my husband. He didn’t stand up and come to me. For a few moments, he sat there and smiled. I watched him in this moment of joy and excitement and relief. I watched him take that moment for himself and then he came to me.
He kisses me every morning before he leaves for work. He tells me he loves me before we fall asleep. He doesn’t have to say that he loves me. I know he does. All I need are those few moments, where there is space between us and I have the chance to really see my husband. It is in those moments that I get to watch him love.
I’m over at In the Powder Room today! Go give them some love and check out why I think we probably shouldn’t be telling our girlfriends we acted like a slut at the bar last night.
My Uncle has lost his glasses.
And his house.
He can’t find his remote.
And one of his sheets is missing.
He also lost a briefcase, and he has no idea what is inside it.
But that’s okay.
This morning I used shower gel to wash my son’s hair.
Put dish soap in the coffee pot.
Ate applesauce with a fork.
Gave the daughter three t-shirts to put on and looked at her confused when she asked, “Which one do you want me to wear?”
And stood staring at the husbands car in the driveway going, “How did that get here?”
We won’t mention that he came home before I was even awake, or that I woke up with him next to me, or that I should have…I should have known he was home.
I am not losing my mind.
And we’re going to find my uncle’s glasses.
Have I ever introduced you to the Husband?
This wonderful man wanted to take me to dinner last night. Now, understand please, that we rarely get any time together anymore. His work schedule keeps him away, which has turned me slowly into the single mother again. I miss him. I miss the nights we would lie and bed and just talk.
So he offered dinner and I obviously jumped at the opportunity.
I thought, ‘Hey, let’s go get ribs.’ I mean, smothered in BBQ sauce, served with real mashed potatoes and gravy and shrimp wrapped in bacon, and half chickens and all those other wonderful choices from Adam’s Ribs.
I thought, ‘It’s gonna be a good night with the Husband.’
I got dressed, put on some nice jeans and a sexy top. I did my make-up and wore earrings.
I think my mirror was frightened. It hadn’t seen that woman in a long time.
I completely scrubbed from my mind the fact that I’m pregnant. I deleted it from memory. I purposefully choose not to think about it.
Mini Monster (of the boy variety): Why are you all dressed up?
Me: Cause Daddy and I are going on a date.
I suppose my children think we only kiss on date night. Right. That’s how I ended up pregnant.
Still in the stages where most everything that isn’t listed on the BRATT diet makes me want to puke.
Lasagna is mana from heaven.
So, I mentioned that I scrubbed the fact I was pregnant from my mind, right? Yes. Well, we get to dinner and I order the half rack with the three little bacon wrapped shrimp all covered in Adam’s signature BBQ sauce, with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy and some broccoli. Granted, I figured over half of this was coming home with me, because they are gigantic portions and I can never eat that much. I was no prepared for this:
That woman, our poor waitress, set that dish of ribs in front of me and the smell immediately set my stomach to roiling.
So, being the intelligent, educated woman I am…
I ate one of the shrimp.
I wanted a freaking shrimp.
-Insert gag at the remembrance of the shrimp.-
We immediately asked for boxes since the smell made me feel so bad and my meal, along with the Husbands, were boxed up in plastic while I scarfed on dry dinner rolls to easy my stomach and the husband figured out a hefty tip for the confused waitress.
We left, and barely made it to the car, with me apologizing like crazy, when the Husband, in classic Husband nature, said:
We collapsed into fits of laughter, unable to drive, sitting in the parking lot on date night with our entire dinner in the kiddos carseat in the back, and it was wonderful.
…and Mama’s following pretty close behind.
Our cat really is losing its shit. I mean, the thing has attacked both of my children. It’s eaten away a whole patch of skin at its neck and is like, “Let’s start on the belly next.” It spends the entire day racing through the house and sliding off my dining room table in a hood slide that would make the Dukes jealous. Not sure what’s wrong with her, but she’s one attack cat moment away from becoming a fur rug…patchy fur rug, but a rug nonetheless.
I was so stoked for this weekend. Stoked. Yes, I said…stoked. My parents were leaving for a vacation, the Husband got a three day weekend (Miracle!) and Saturday was poised to be a quiet day with just he and I doing our thing.
The kids with my Aunt.
The Uncle with his brother.
Just the Husband and I.
So whatever happened to me Friday when he got home that made me literally have an out of body experience, I’ll never know. I just punched him…in the stomach.
It wasn’t hard.
But I was mad. Like, really angry. FOR NO DAMN REASON.
I could see myself, yelling at him and his flabbergasted, confused face. I could see it, but I just. Couldn’t. Shut. Up.
Then he yelled back.
Fantastic idea, babe.
Now, I’m in tears, and he’s like, “Crap, I broke it. It’s leaking again.”
So I get a hug and I get this:
The Husband: The guys at work warned me you’d be all psychotic and stuff…with the hormones.
Me: -Pure raging anger in my voice.- What?
The rest of the weekend went off without a hitch. Everyone got to the places they were supposed to go. The Husband and I went on a Buy Maternity Clothes Date…whoopee.
He got the new Batman game, which is awesome, but that came with yet another gigantic sculpture to find room for somewhere in our tiny room. Gigantic. But it’s the Joker, so I’m not super mad, it just covers my entire jewelry box.
I don’t need jewelry, obviously.
I’m fabulous just as I am.
Yeah…we’re going to look at it that way. That works.
Everyone gets bad haircuts. It’s just a fact of life. However, it’s nothing we ever want for our kids. So I walked my daughter out of Walmart Monday with a cut that made me want to cover her head with a bandanna and run through the parking lot before anyone she knows could possibly see her.
I was embarrassed for her. I wanted to cry for her. I wanted to wring that young little girl’s neck who looked at the pixie cut on the wall and said, “Yeah, I can do that.” and then proceeded to hack at my daughter’s hair until she was left looking like a Barbie in Sid’s toy box concentration camp.
So I took her to a friend, who proceeded to hack off more in an effort to actually make it look like a cut. It’s short. I mean, shorter than I would have ever wanted it, but at least now her bangs are straight and not looking like a template for a chevron design.
This morning I’m getting her ready for school, and we washed and blew her hair dry and then I styled it. Spiky in the back and a bit in the front and she just grinned.
“I look like Katy Perry. Or Pink. Mama, I look like a Rock Star!”
And we’re okay. We’re okay…
What do you think we should call the baby?
This is how my son envisions the baby:
I mean Godzilla pretty much speaks for himself, but Princess Hairy? I was at a loss.
This came to mind, but then I found this…
It scares me that this even exists. Excuse me, while I go panic in some corner and practice saying, “It’s not real. It’s all a bad dream. It’s not real.”
There’s nothing like watching some TV show to get a rude awakening into deeper emotions. Last night, in yet another of my late-night-can’t-sleep-watch-Netflix episodes, I stumbled upon Master Chef Junior. I had no idea Ramsey was doing this show.
And let’s get it straight. I like Ramsey. He’s a sonuvabitch, and I like him.
But I didn’t like this show. I mean, here are a bunch of 8-13 year olds that can cook. And not just cook, but create edible food art on a plate. They know words like remoulade and actually know how to make it.
I didn’t even hear Ramsey yell at anyone.
I thought, holy crap, my kids are not that young compared to these guys. They’ve never even used the stove.
Am I doing something wrong?
Is this normal kid behavior?
Should they be preparing four course meals on the regular?
Where did I screw up?
We’re going to blame all this on whatever hormones are going through my body that made me instantly slip into I’m-a-bad-mom mode. I’m not a bad mom.
And my kids? My kids are better than this.
My daughter is learning the correct names of the bones in the human body. Not for school. Not for some science project. Simply because she wants to. And you know why? Because she is curious by nature. She likes to ask questions. She loves the word “why”. This is one of my most favorite things about her.
My son? Oh…he basically wrote an entire story. He didn’t necessarily write it, but he stood there and told it to me while I wrote it. It inspired a slightly more completed piece, one that I’m working on now for him. But he created a story with a beginning, middle, and end. It had a main character, a mission, plenty of pitfalls and things to spoil the main guy’s efforts, and additional characters to help him along. All of this based on his stuffed bear: Boo Bear. You know why? Because he is imaginative. It may border on complete dishonesty at times, but I love him for it. I love the way his imagination takes over.
My kids are awesome. Screw that TV show.
I’m proud of my children for who they are, not what they can do.
I’m just envious of that kid who made the chocolate lava cake. I could really get into a chocolate lava cake right about now.
Last night the children asked me why my tummy hurt so much. I tried to explain it, I did.
Me: The baby is just picky about the foods it wants right now. Some stuff doesn’t taste good or smell good right now.
Princess Asks-A-Lot: So what does the baby want?
Me: Right now? -Thinks- Bacon.
Then I come across my Tumblr this morning and see this:
They do exist.