To Watch Him Love

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.

The dude who attempted to suffocate me on my parent’s couch.

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.

541497_397525856932511_2036391058_nA few months later was Easter and I was scrawling ‘I love you’ onto an egg and hiding it in the fridge.

“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.

Silence.

“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 family25248_108453875839712_7044406_n 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.

481829_525481010803661_775093643_n“We’ve got a girl and a boy,” he started. “You know? Maybe that’s enough.”

“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 was942205_603602919658136_1585711832_n 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.

31 Reasons Why

I promise we’ll be getting back to the Five Truths and a Lie game and that I will finish what I started and the lie will be revealed.

But today is a special day.

And so I must celebrate.

Today is the husband’s 31st birthday.

I will celebrate.

I will celebrate because it is an odd number, and we all know how I feel about those.

I will celebrate because he is officially in his 30’s and I am still, hahahaha, in my 20’s. Late 20’s. Almost 30’s. But not 30’s.

I will celebrate because like a small child he wants a confetti cake with confetti icing and that crap is too sweet for even me, so I won’t gain a pound from this cake, because it is one cake I don’t want to eat.

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Hun…can we please grow up beyond confetti cake? Please.

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And so, because I love him and because it is an odd number and I like odd numbered lists, I am giving him, and also you, the 31 Reasons Why I Love the Husband Today.

Why just today? Why not every day? Because every day brings new reasons. And because sometimes, what I loved yesterday…annoys the crap out of me today. Let’s be honest.

31 Reasons Why I Love You Today

1. Last night you made me watch Alien (for the first time) and when the creepy facehugger thing popped onto that guy’s mask and turned him into a living incubator…you crawled a hand across my face and almost made me piss myself.

This is not okay.

This is not okay.

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2. This morning we were working with our son to teach him math. When he got an answer wrong, you comforted him by saying, “It’s okay. Mommy didn’t know it either.”

3. We have a very real communication problem: our understanding of what the act of wearing shorts means. I put on shorts because I am hot and want to sleep comfortably. Because I put on shorts, you believe I am saying, “I’m obviously horny and want sex.”

4. Texas Roadhouse posted pictures of their rolls this morning on twitter. When I complained that it wasn’t fair to torture us, and they aren’t even open yet, you said, “Well, if you’d just figure out the recipe already it wouldn’t be such a big deal.”

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5. I’ve been working on a master plan to get your mother’s apple cake recipe. You concocted one of your own: Asking her for it.

6. When you are sleeping and I climb into bed next to you, you perform the most loving of actions. You roll over, put me into a headlock and growl. It may be the adrenaline pumping in an effort to keep me from realizing I’m suffocating, but those romantic moments make bedtime so special.

7. Last night you explained Predator to me. Your face like up like a little boy and I realized you were having your Dorkraki moment. Go ahead. Tease me again.

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8. When the Family Guy episode came on where Brian does mushrooms, you looked at me and said, “Is it really like that?”

*Side note: I never once….I repeat…never once did mushrooms. Thank you.

9. I explained the moment of conception through battle terms and compared your sperm to a horde of Zerglings.

10. You’ve never read my blog.

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11. When you are playing your games you mumble phrases like, “Death is my bitch” or “My mind is full of bacon”.

12. You’ve also never read my books.

13. I once asked you to read to our son and he brought you Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? You shot me a glare after every page.

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14. I was lying next to you when you grumbled, “Shit. You whore.” I knew there was a Banshee on the screen and gave you a comforting pat on the back.

15. You know I am ticklish and so put a finger into my armpit and tell me not to laugh or you’ll tickle me. This is an impossible request. You jerk.

16. You tell me to shut up during sex.

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17. You have never once questioned the fact that I am submissive with you…even when I go all fembot on someone else.

18. “The foot is down” has become your catch phrase. If you were a superhero you would say it whenever you entered a fight.

19. You were right about Batman…and Ghostrider…and you fooled me into thinking you’d let them watch Predator, but you knew better.

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20. You take a relatively difficult concept and break it down in seconds. I try to explain Global Warming to someone, you say: “Basically there’s this shit called ozone that protects us and we are some trashy motherfuckers, so now the place is a wreck and the temperature is going to get all whacked out until we all die in a fiery VolNadoCane of Doom.”

21. You voted this year.

22. You voted the same as me this year.

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23. You still ask me to play video games with you. Even though I can’t aim. Or walk and shoot at the same time. Or actually hit anything. Or not die.

24. You showed me how to buy dye so my character could be color coordinated in Diablo.

25. You buy me rubber duckies. Therefore my addiction is your fault.

He gave me this one for Christmas.

He gave me this one for Christmas.

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26. You buy me shoes. A lot.

27. I told you I was going on a diet and you looked at my thighs and butt and said, “If those go away, I go away.”

28. Your hair is prettier than mine.

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29. When people come up and say to you, “Your children are beautiful” and you say, “Thanks” while I’m staring back and forth between your awesome tan and my children’s veins shining through their oober pale skin. Whaaaa?

30. You were smart enough to marry a good lady when you found one. Yep. Smart man.

31. Yesterday, I read our son that lovey dovey book that makes him smile and makes you tease him. So I’ll give you the killer line:

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In His Words

I read a post tonight written by a very talented Rarasaur. She was answering the prompt given by The Matticus Kingdom.

Basically: In the Tug of War between Marvel and DC comics, who wins?

Ah, the age old question.

I’d answer if myself, but I really wanted to see what my five year old would say. So I drew the battle lines and paired off the comic book characters he knew, Marvel versus DC, to see who he picked as the winners.

Captain America vs. Batman

Captain America for the win. Hands down. He didn’t even debate it. I’m paraphrasing the boy’s words, but it basically came down to this: Batman has a cool car, but Captain America was just a skinny little nice guy and they gave him powers because he was so nice.

In Dude’s mind, if he’s nice enough he might get super strength, too. And a costume.

He already has the costume.

But it’s true, when I sat back and thought. Bruce Wayne is some billionaire vigilante who just likes to wrestle Gotham out of one problem after another. He’s got the money to back up his “hobby” and while I love the “every day guy” idea behind his lack-of powers, he’s not an every day guy. He’s a billionaire. He’s Iron Man without the awesome chest piece. I’m all for the Captain.

Oh, and it drives me nuts that Batman has been played by like ten different people since I was a kid.

Iron Man vs. Superman

Superman won. The boy loves Iron Man, but Superman “gets all powered up by the sun”. I don’t think he’s old enough to grasp how brilliant Iron Man really is. Yes, he’s an egotistical ass, but he’s also a genius. I’m attracted to genius. Superman is an alien. Enough said.

Neither of these guys are easy to relate to, though. I mean, my son can aspire to be someone like Captain America…but Superman is impossible and Iron Man is a little far-fetched. Not saying my son is stupid, but I’m realistic. He’s probably not going to be designing his own glowing pacemaker any day soon.

Superman did perform a lobotomy…with his lazer vision. Which is awesome.

Thor vs. Green Lantern

It was all Thor, all day long. Dude doesn’t even like the Green Lantern. He found him boring. And of course, “Thor has a big hammer and goes like this…BANG” At which point he slammed his fist into the floor. Yes, the God with his L’Oreal locks won the day and I have to agree.

I get that Green Lanterns can be anyone. You…me…the redneck who lives down the road with the flames painted all over his truck. Anybody. I hate rings though. I won’t wear one. So I’d never be able to take the job.

And he is boring.

And Thor is hot, hot, hot, hot, hot.

Plus, extra points for using Gods from the myths to make superheroes.

Hulk vs. Aquaman

Hulk. It wasn’t even up for discussion.

“I don’t like the fish guy. Mermaid Man is better than him.”

He picked a Spongebob character over Aquaman. I couldn’t have agreed more.

I’d write more on this one, but it sees really self-explanatory to me.

Aquaman is one Hulk smash away from becoming a plate of fish and chips.

And last but not least:

Black Widow vs. Wonder Woman

Woman Woman stole the day. I guess my son doesn’t have a thing for redheads, because when I mentioned the two, he blushed twelve different shades of red.

“Wonder Woman is pretty.”

He was too embarrassed to talk after that and ran off to change into his favorite costume of all:

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Yep. My son likes the bad guys best of all, and Venom is his all time favorite.

I swear…he’s perfectly normal.

Now, go check out these other blogs that are writing on the topic, while we relax in the mutual agreement that Marvel kicks DC’s butt…mostly.

http://rarasaur.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/and-i-shall-shed-my-light-over-dark/

http://jedsplayhouse.com/2014/01/20/dc-vs-marvel-official-tug-of-war/

http://graysonqueen.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/dont-lose-your-arms/

http://ardenrr.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/dc-vs-marvel/

http://jeremymilburn.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/marvel-vs-dc-tug-of-war/

http://gamerscene.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/tug-of-war-2014-marvel-vs-dc/

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/my-contribute-to-a-week-of-silliness/

http://notapunkrocker.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/2240/

http://electronicbaglady.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/tug-of-war/

http://faithhopechocolate.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/returning-to-my-youth-to-participate-in-a-tug-of-war/

http://consciouscacophony.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/matticus-kingdom-tug-of-war-marvel-vs-dc/

http://jaklumen.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/a-leap-ahead-zero-to-hero-days-9-12/

http://revisedgewater.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/versus-companies/

http://areyoufinishedyet.com/2014/01/23/the-superhero-keg-party-a-battle-for-superiority/

Because They Have a Four Day Weekend

And that of course means that everyone has to be sick.

The husband came home looking like the lead singer of a death metal band after a year long tour.

I practically fed him Nyquil and sent him away.

The son took a nap with him later on and woke up, crawling onto the couch with me.

Mama, I’m warm and snuggly.

So I snuggled him.

That’s not warm and snuggly…that’s a fever.

I dosed him on Motrin and then later Tylenol, dunked him in the bathtub and thought, Oh yay. A whole four day break of sick people.

The husband finally woke up around ten and convinced me that sex was a good idea.

Don’t drink out of my cup…I don’t want you to get sick.

Thank you for being considerate. Now come her so we can swap bodily fluids. That has no potential for spreading germs and disease…Right.

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Oh, and I’m hacking up a lung this morning.

No problem.

I’ve got two, right?

I’ll be fine.

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Reinvention

Growing up I wanted nothing more than to change my name. I went to school with a handful of other girls named Ashley and multiple others named Laura. As if that weren’t quite bad enough, my parents (lovely people that they are) decided to inflict eternal punishment on my brother and I by calling us by our middle names.

Which means I only answered to Ashley.

Or Laura Ashley Lord when I was in trouble. But more often than not, it was Ashley.

So I would go to school and the teacher would call on Laura, and I’d be looking around like a fool while twelve other hands went up and eventually it was narrowed down that she meant me. Now’s the fun part of explaining that I go by Ashley and watching the teacher scratch things out on her list, so the next time she called Ashley seven more hands could go up while I wondered if I was officially an Ashley now, or still Laura.

Confusing, huh?

I wanted a new name.

By high school, I wanted a new image. I went through the goth stage where my closet looked like an Edgar Allan Poe wet dream. I went through the punk stage and wore pants with wide enough legs to be potentially used as parachutes if I happened to be dropped out of a plane. I went through the slut stage and dressed in the least amount of clothing the dress code would allow.

Granted, the last was hard to do. I pretty much looked like a boy.

And I’ll never forget coming home with the Levi’s Too Super Low Ultra jeans and my father seeing that there were only two buttons and no zipper to them immediately made me return them. I was devastated…then. Now I’m thankful.

By the way, thank you Daddy.

I saw all this, because even now, at twenty-something years of age, I’m still trying to reinvent myself. I go through phases of wanted to strive to be something else other than who I am in that moment. I am surrounded by friends that call me Laura, and family that calls me Ashley. I have so many names. The children call me Mommy, or Shuggie, or Mama. The husband calls me baby, sweetcakes, or dork. Occasionally, my mother slips and calls me Cooterboo (what a wonderful nickname). My Uncle rarely refers to me by name, but I hold out hope that he remembers it. I’m Mrs. __________ now that I’m married and my author’s name remains my maiden name. Some of my paperwork is still in my previous married name. I’m the “Parent of _________”. I’m the taxi driver, the personal shopper, the chef, the doctor, and the one second genius next second ‘you know nothing’.

Is this adulthood? Would changing my name as a child have changed all that I’ve become today?

Probably not.

I love who I am today.

So when we went to my son’s first soccer game this past weekend and all the children were sitting in a circle introducing themselves for the first time, my son….of course, only my son…says his name is Mater.

As in THIS Mater

As in THIS Mater

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And his coach asked if he really wanted to be called that, which resulted in vigorous head nods to the affirmative. So he was Mater.

I spent the rest of the morning listening to the people next to me, and soon enough myself, crying out, “Go Mater! Go! Good job Mater! Woo!”

He had reinvented himself. Just like that.

My son, who already goes by a nickname because none of us like to call him his real name (that’s another long story).

And now for soccer, he is Mater. At five years old, he is accomplishing the list of names that as an adult he may be like me and look back on and think:

 I am so many people. I’m all of these things.

I just hope he follows that thought with a smile and can learn to love every facet of this weird, tangled up, multiple-personality life.

Life Hacks for My Daughter

I was sitting here thinking today about all the things I wanted to make sure I tell my daughter at some point. I’m not talking the ooie-gooey things like, “I love you” or “You’re beautiful”. I’m talking the real, down and dirty tricks that I’ve picked up over the years.

***WARNING***

This post may be full of generalizations, profanity, and of course sex. We’ll rate it “R” for Ridiculously Awesome.

1. Ignore every commercial you see for those fancy women’s razors. Skip that department completely and go straight for the men’s. Regardless of what they say, men’s razors always work better.

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Also, it is perfectly acceptable to go without shaving your legs, as long as you are wearing pants and/or the hair is short enough to not poke through your pantyhose.

2. Speaking of pantyhose…it will never be comfortable. Ever. You can save yourself a bit of pain and buy one size up from what the little box-from-hell says you need. Doing this will not, however, pull in nice and tight all the areas you may be wanting nice and tight. For that, you’re going to need Spanx.

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No need to be afraid. Spanx are basically like packing your own sausage.

3. Oh yes, home-made sausage and fresh pasta and God only know what else his mother makes that you never quite manage to get right. Give up. Give up now. He will always compare your cooking to his mother’s, and she will win in almost every category. There is something inside a man’s head that makes him nostalgic for the meals he had growing up (even if his mother could barely manage Kraft in the blue box). There are ways to combat the feelings of anger this will cause you.

– Do not ask for your mother-in-law’s recipes, or to teach you how to make a certain dish. In fact, compliment her always on her food (Wine helps). This will do two things: irritate her and confuse the balance that she expects to be in place.

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– Take comfort in knowing that if you have a son, somewhere out there is a woman who will feel exactly like you when your son says, “It’s not like my mother’s makes”.

– Offer to house-sit for your in-laws and have sex with your husband in their kitchen. Then when you are over for dinner, just think back on that experience and smile. (Pass the wine.)

4. Instead of worrying about his mother’s cooking, focus on learning one meal really well. I’m talking entree, at least two sides, salad, soup, bread, and desert. Master that meal. Work at it until it is perfect. This will be your go-to meal. Your company is coming over meal. Your his mother is visiting meal. Your time to give the husband the credit card statement meal.

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5. Learn to walk in heels. Go out and buy six inch stiletto platform hooker shoes. Put them on and walk on them until you have nailed those monsters. This way you will be prepared for whenever the husband (or anyone else) gives you a pair of heels. If you can master those, you can handle any, and are therefore less likely to spend weeks walking around in your new gift like a drunken flamingo.

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6. Your children will hit an age where they practically become a parrot. And like any wild animal, you either muzzle them or toss food bits at them until they shut up.

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7. Your body is your own, guard it. Until you have children, then anything you might be delirious enough to believe is still yours, isn’t.

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8. At some point, someone in your life is going to offer you drugs. There are certain steps I want you to take before you accept them.

– Look at the person giving them to you…very carefully. Pay attention to detail here.

– Imagine yourself having sex with them in the next hour.

– Imagine your having sex with them without protection.

– Imagine getting pregnant with them.

– Imagine them 50, balding, and changing the diaper of your sixth child on the ripped couch in your trailer, while the rest of your kids are in the backyard shooting BB guns and attempting to tie each other up with duct tape. Oh, and you’re in a floral moo-moo.

– Turn around and walk away very quickly.

* The same applies to alcohol in excess. Except when you grow up. Then flip the image and imagine all your housework. Drink wine until the image disappears.

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9. Finally, before you ever consider some life-long venture with a man, consider these things:

– Sex sucks the first time.

– Sex sometimes sucks the first couple of times. There’s a reason one-night stands normally stay that way. It takes a bit of time to actually learn one another well enough to have amazing sex.

– That didn’t apply to your father and I…and yes, we were a one-night stand turned marriage.

– Your father and I are NOT the role model in this situation.

– All the sex stuff aside, if they aren’t the kind of man you’d want to introduce to your father…best to just let that one go.

– If they don’t treat you the way you see your father treat me, run.

– If they put their hands on you, experience tells me crock-pots can be dangerous as hell. Make your way to a kitchen and it’ll be like running into the Matrix armory.

– If they cheat on you, they will do it again. If you’re the girl they cheated on someone with, they’ll cheat on you, too.

– If their pants sag, I WILL make them a soprano for life. You’ve been warned.

Most importantly…

– If you can’t laugh with them, lose them.

– If you can’t laugh at them, trip them 😀

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And finally, let me just say…

You are not allowed to look at your body and say, “I don’t like -insert body part here-“.

I made that.

With my body.

made that.

You don’t get to not like it.

Love you.

Up and Coming

Consider this fair warning.

I know I have a lot to catch up on…

– The holiday wrap-up (oh the blog fodder I have gathered)

– The final say in the Present Winners and Losers

– And my favorite up and coming event: The New Year’s Resolutions

So I’m doing something different for that last one and I’d like to see how many people I can get to join in with me.

This year I’m saying “Screw You” to the resolutions (not like I ever keep them any way) and pouring my energy into the Love My Body campaign.

C’mon…you know you wanna join in.

Come New Year’s Day check in here to see an awesome photo of me along with a nice long list of things I need to remember throughout the year that I love about my body.

I mean, today I walked into Walmart and all the Christmas junk was hidden off in some obscure corner, while the Slim Fast, work-out gear, and dumbbells were front and center. It was like a walk of shame down the main aisle, while I stared at my arch enemy, Special K. I swear, those red K’s were tossing up gang signs and holding the ‘L’ up on their foreheads to accompany me.

And eff that.

Eff that walk of shame.

Eff these stores and commercials and propaganda to make us think that only once a year we should be striving to better ourselves.

Eff everything that takes a huge after Christmas dump on our self-esteem.

Eff these resolutions that end up being just one more sense of pressure in our rush-rush-rush lives.

And eff Special K.

So, what about you? Want to join me for the Love Your Body campaign? If so, send me a link to your version of it come New Year’s! I’ll be featuring an entire blog devoted to the awesome ladies and gents who join me in this little endeavor.

Back ‘Er Up

A few months ago, the husband and I went through a terrible loss. After multiple trips to the doctor and finally getting the green light for some quality time of the midnight-everyone-is-sleeping-we-still-have-to-be-quiet variety, I took the doc’s advice and went out and bought spermicide.

Let me just interject here and say that we are obviously two people who are simply not meant to use any form of contraceptive except implanted birth controls. Truly, our brains are simply not wired for this stuff.

But the doc said no baby making for two months, so we wanted to get in some practice before we catch that next green light. It was sort of like a Christmas present. Insert spermicide.

Literally.

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I read the instructions and proceeded to remove the applicator and try to fill that thing with the gel stuff. It was like packing my own tampon. I finally called in the reinforcements, which is when we realized that the applicator doesn’t come together in the way it is supposed to be used. You have to take it apart. Switch it around.

After I’d already filled the plunger part halfway with gel.

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Yay. Let’s make a mess.

Finally, between the two of us, we managed to get the thing filled and then I continued with my instruction reading:

It is best to lay on your back, with your knees bent to insert.

Of course I read this out loud. Which is about when I get laughter and this from the husband:

Head down. Arms in. Knees apart.

I mean, as if the romance wasn’t already flowing at this point, now we were collapsed into fits of laughter that made it impossible for me to even attempt to insert this thing. There’s nothing so hot as watching a chick on her back, knees apart, clutching a syringe-looking thing of spermicide while she is laughing uncontrollably, eyes-watering and make-up running.

Hot stuff.

Insert as far as is comfortable.

Gotcha. So I did, let out a loud ouch, and got:

That’s not comfortable. Back ‘er up.

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At this point I was giving serious consideration to slapping him into the moment. I mean, as if this whole thing weren’t stressful hilarious enough, he has to jump in with his little comments. I kept thinking about my mother telling me her horror stories using this stuff. She and my father tried it one time…

By the way, these are the kinds of conversations that put your children in need of therapy. Just saying.

…and my father had some sort of reaction. He supposedly jumped up and ran off with his necessary love-making parts on fire. They obviously didn’t use spermicide again, and we were left with an ungodly amount of fear.

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Yes. Let’s add liquid fire in here. Not like it’s sensitive or anything. This should be fun.

So, we finally get everything in where it is supposed to be and I read the rest of the instructions.

Product is active immediately after use and for up to one hour.

Crap, we only got an hour! We gotta go! Hurry up! C’mon!   -Me

That’s really romantic.

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I won’t fill you in on the rest of the messy details…except to say that at the end of the this tale, we didn’t get our happily ever after.

We got towels and attempted to wipe clean every surface of our bodies.

It just screams “Sexy”, doesn’t it?

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White Shoulders

tradewithtonyThis morning my children are dressed in their Christmas best.

They are ready for Sunday School and in all the hectic chaos of such mornings, my son asked for cologne.

So, I ran into the room, apologized to the sleeping bear that is the husband and grabbed his cologne, patting it on my fingers and dabbing the smelly stuff on my son’s pale little neck.

My daughter wanted smelly stuff, too.

My mother went and got perfume and it hit me, the second she lifted the cap on the bottle.

Even over the smell of the Polo on my fingers, I could smell the White Shoulders, tears filled my eyes, and for a moment I skipped back.

*This is a piece from my first book, Wake Up a Woman.

White Shoulders

White Shoulders

Have you ever noticed that there are places in this world that at certain times, and this is only every once in a while, time skips? It’s like life is a record player, and in our little record are a few cracks. Oh they are nothing major, and the music still comes through, but at times, just certain times, the needle catches. It pauses there, and the music stops. Then, within seconds, it jumps over the crack and starts anew. Who knows how long those seconds are? I mean, what does time mean to God? An eternity for us is but a blink of the eye to Him.

Of course by this point my grandmother had stopped my explanation of cracks and records skipping. She had one of the sighs, the kind that let me know she was ready to come out of her silence. We were sitting there on that park bench, the kind with the curved metal back, that looks uncomfortable, but you end up melded right into it like you belong with the scrolls and dips and dives. Leaves floated around us in the colors of flaming ash, all reds, oranges and yellows. My Grandmother’s cape was red. Not the red of the leaves, or a sunset over tired skies. No, her cape was the color of a fire engine. As if she should be putting out all those little flames that fell around us, and she could have too. She’d been putting out fires all of my life.

“Now stop this nonsense, and tell me what’s really going on.”

Her voice was one of soft strength, and as she spoke, one small, wrinkled, beautiful hand slipped out from under that cape and grasped mine. I couldn’t just settle for her hand though, and instead I curled myself into her, like I’d done since I was a child. My grandmother was no twig of a woman. She was the kind of woman you hugged and instead of being afraid you might break her, you knew she was the one holding you together. She was comfortable, and as I hugged her the scent of White Shoulders chased away everything else.

It was easier to talk now, so I told her of school and how well it was going. I talked about my professors and how much support they have given me in my writing. I spoke of work and the fun I have with the girls there in our efforts to make everyone fall as much in love with their writer’s voice, as we are. I told her of my children, and how we made gingerbread cookies, even though it wasn’t nearly Christmas yet, simply because the kids wanted to cut out cookie shapes. She laughed at that, and reminded me of her old recipe for cookies, one my mother and I don’t make nearly enough.

“Remember you have to roll them flat. Real flat. You want them really thin. Your mother and you never quite get them thin enough.”

And she was right, we didn’t. My mother and I didn’t come ingrained with that same ever-flowing font of patience that my grandmother had, and is. We’d get that cookie dough as flat as we felt like, even though we could hear her in our mind saying that they weren’t ready yet, and roll them flatter. I started to laugh then, and she laughed along with me, the sound filling the empty silence around us. It rose and fell over us, slowly twinkling out, stuck on the breeze and drifting away.

I sat there on that bench and turned to the empty place beside me. My fingers brushed the dead, brown leaves from the seat. Music played again, sweeping through the trees and shaking everything up at the roots, and the world spun around. I laughed again, loud enough to drown out the music. It was laughter laced with tears, and they fell and darkened the wood where my grandmother had sat.

“I miss you Mommom, so much.”

Perhaps I’ll stay here for a bit. Perhaps I’ll make this my home for a time. What is time anyway? It may only be another breath, another heartbeat, and the needle will catch again, and silence will fill a world scented by White Shoulders.