Friday, October 29, 2010

BFF, LYLAS, and so on

I can remember my first day of kindergarten just like yesterday.  I was so excited about going to the same school as my big brother.  What I didn't understand was that we would not be in the same class, so when I got to school and he was not with me, I was a little scared!  Then this really nice little girl with long blond hair came and sat in the chair next to me. This would be the beginning of a 25 year and counting friendship.

In my life I have been blessed beyond measure with a wonderful, loving, and caring family.  I realize that this is something that is now often  not the case and I am thankful for them.  I also have been immensely blessed with friends whom I consider family.  Having both of these families in my life has made more of an impact on me as a person than I could ever explain in words, but I will try.

I went to the same school from kindergarten to high school graduation.  In fact, it was all in the same building.  To some this may be surprising, but to those of us who grew up together, it was normal .  The same girls that I started to play basketball with in elementary school were the same girls that I shared the court with on my last game as a senior.  Sunday school, bible camp, summer bike rides, and sleepovers, they were all there.  First dates, prom, parties, graduation, and even our first hangovers, we all were together.

  For some people this is where the story ends, after high school everyone goes their separate ways and those friendships that were so strong become a distant memory with the occasional phone call or email.  In my case, this was not the end of the story, in fact, it was just the beginning.

In college I meet new people at a different phase in my life.  I never dreamed that I could become such good friends with someone almost instantly.  It was just like the first day of kindergarten all over again.  After college and across the miles, the story doesn't end here for me either. 

Being a nurse is a great job.  It is my passion, it is what I have wanted to do all of my life.  When I passed my nursing boards and had a real job, I was so excited, yet terrified.  The thought of literally having someone else's life in your hands is a huge responsibility for a 21 year old.  My fellow co workers took me under their wings, they taught me how to be a good nurse, they took care of me.  I watched them save lives literally, I witnessed them having to tell a mother that their son or daughter was dead.  I have seen them hold the hand of the dying person who has not one family member until they take their last breath.  They even introduced me to the man who would become my husband and the father of my children. 

Through thick and thin, best friends forever, to those of you special people in my life, we have stayed true to this.  We have seen each other at their best, and at their lowest. We have been there for each other through marriage and even divorce.   We have been there for illnesses and death of loved ones.  We have been pregnant together, and have seen each other become mothers for the first time.  Through all of the laughter and some tears our friendships are stronger than ever.  No matter what walk of life we have meet in, you are all different, yet so instrumental in the person that I am. 

I want to thank the special few of you who are my closest friends.  You know who you are, whether we have been friends since the first day of kindergarten, or have only known each other from work.  Thank you.  Thank you for being a good friend to me.  Thank you for loving me for who I am.  Thank you for your loyalty and trust.  Yes, I am one of those lucky few people in this world that has a group of friends that I can call family.  I know that no matter where we are in life, that we will always share the common bond of friendship.

A friend loves at all times.  Proverbs 17:17

I love you my dear friends

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trick or Treat, smell my feet...

It is that time of year again.  The time of year where the candy corn is on every isle in the grocery store and the fun size snickers just happen to magically appear in my shopping cart.  Of course, it is the only time that I have a valid excuse to buy such things because we HAVE to get plenty of candy for our two trick or treaters, right?

I know that I should get into the ghouls and goblins mood, but as a parent, I dread Halloween.  The idea of a constant sugar high for three days with a 1 and 2 year old just isn't fun.  Buying overpriced costumes and then having to take them off and on my kids every time that I get them in and out of the car to trick or treat because they don't fit in their car seats with them on is entirely too much work! 

As a kid I had great memories of Halloween.  I can remember going to the store to look at costumes.  Some years I would get one from the store, but most years we didn't.  To be honest, the years we wore the homemade costumes were the best.  One year I was a "hobo" wearing dad's old flannel shirt, another year I was a referee, wearing dad's referee shirt.  Funny thing, a lot of my costumes came out of dad's closet!!!  My fondest costume was when I was in the first grade.  My Granny had some old curtains in her house that were a shear white fabric .  My cousins and I would stand in the window where they hung down to the floor, and we would wrap up in them playing a bride.  We would drape it around our head like a veil and then sing "Here comes the Bride" for hours.  My Granny and Mom had a great idea to make me a "bride" costume out of the old curtains.  I was so excited!  I could remember watching the progress on my dress everyday and the excitement that I had about wearing it to school and showing it to all of my friends.  The day finally came, I put on my costume that I loved so much and got on the school bus.  I was so proud!  I didn't win the best costume award that year, but to me, It was the greatest ever! 

Some years we would make a dummy and sit him on our front porch.  Stuffing my dad's coveralls with leaves and putting "hunky dory" aka our name for the famous funny mask that we had for years, on top of the coveralls.  Once my mom even put the mask on while she was in bed with the covers over her face.  My dad came home from working a double shift and pulled back the covers,  nearly peeing himself when he saw my mom!  We laughed for days!!!

Popcorn balls homemade by Grandma Pat, crisp fall evenings, the smell of bonfires...that was Halloween to me. In the spirit of the season, I have decided that I will participate in making Halloween fun for my kids, even if I don't care for it as an adult like I did as a kid.   Although we have store bought costumes and there is no "hunky dory" on my front porch,  we will make family memories of our own.  Who knows, maybe I will find an old curtain and make my own costume...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No Thanks, Ronald McDonald

This past summer was the hottest on record and I don't think that anyone will disagree, it was miserable!!  It felt more like Death Valley than Kentucky.  Due to the hot temps there were days we were forced to come up with alternatives to playing outside.  Driving by McDonald's I had the bright idea that the playplace would be great fun for the kids.  I should have just kept on driving.

The people who do marketing for McDonald's are quite clever, obviously.  So good they could probably convince a fat girl like me to buy a bikini and make her think that she looks good in it.  The happy meal, free toys, and the playplace, they are all targets for those little people in the back seat, to lure them in, and get them hooked!  We had visited the playplace once before with our older cousins and it was a good experience so I figured that this would be a great way for Liv to burn some energy. 

We had a little talk in the car before going in about eating first, then she could play.  For those of you who know my child, she doesn't eat much, sometimes I wonder how she can be my daughter!  We got our food, sat down to eat, and to my surprise she finished every last bite of her meal.  Frankie and I were still eating but I told her that she could go and play.

I watched her ever so carefully climb all of the way to the top of the play equipment and continue to go through a maze.  At first I was a little nervous because I could not see her when she was in the maze but every few minutes I would hear, "Mom, watch me"!  Meanwhile, Frankie was still enjoying eating his chicken nuggets, so I sat and continued to feed him while watching her play.  As I was people watching, I noticed a woman who looked more like my mom's age with no less than 5 kids with her, she looked tired and worn out.  While trying to figure out if she was the mommy or grandma, I heard this piercing scream from the top of the maze.  I knew that it wasn't Liv, and then I saw the mom/grandma look up at a screaming little girl.  She was trying to coax her down, but with no luck.  She proceeded to climb all of the way to the top to bring her down.  Have you ever seen these things?  There are no ladders, just platforms made for a 3 year old to climb up.  The entire time I was watching her I was thinking, I'm so glad that isn't my kid.  Then it hit me, I could see my future right before my eyes.  I knew that this is exactly what I was going to be doing.  It was not 2 minutes and I hear Liv yelling, "MOM, COME GET ME NOW"!

I could see her peeking through the window in the maze and I was trying to tell her how to get down, but all I got in return was, "come get me, I'm scared"!  Scanning the play area I thought, there has to be an older kid in here that can climb up and get her.  No such luck.  They were all little ankle biters just like her.  I knew what I was going to have to do.  I grabbed Frankie out of the high chair and walked to the "platform tower" area.  I took one look at it and thought how in the world am I going to get this fat @%% up there all while holding Frankie?  Definitely should not have eaten that Big Mac.  I started the climb.  With every platform that I had to squeeze through one handed,  her screams got louder.  I had back sweat.  This was not good.  After what seemed like climbing Everest, I made it to the top platform.  I looked and she was at the end of this tunnel.  NO WAY can I fit through it.  FINALLY, she got close enough that I grabbed her foot and I dragged her to the platform where I squeezed back to the bottom while holding two kids.  When I made it to the floor I wanted to kiss it.  I looked around and realized that not only did I have an audience inside, there were people in the drive thru watching too.  GREAT, I'm going to end up on some Youtube video...FAT MOM CLIMBS UP TO SCREAMING CHILD.  Thank God that I have not seen it...yet.

We didn't even clean up our eating area, we went straight to the car, and I got the heck out of that place as fast as I could. 

Whenever you have the idea that going to the playplace would be great fun, just remember that you could be that mom/grandma climbing to the top to get your crying kid. 

Next summer when it is blazing hot and we are looking for alternative activities, we are going to the pool!

Monday, October 4, 2010

This is what I signed up for

I recall vividly the first few days that I worked in the hospital as a nursing assistant while in school.  I had brand new scrubs, a cute stethoscope, and shiny white tennis shoes.  I would bounce in a patients room with a smile from ear to ear. I was as green as grass.  Then it happened, I had to clean out a bedpan and poop for the first time and I thought, "This really isn't what I had in mind, a business degree sounds somewhat appealing".

In our lives we all have those moments when we think, is this really what I signed up for?  What was I thinking?  I am crazy!  I had that same exact thought at 4am this morning after two nights in a row of my two year old thinking that it is more fun to keep me awake at night.

When both of my babies were born I remember the feelings that I had in those first few precious hours of their lives.  The overwhelming feeling of love, the feeling of accomplishment, the pride you have when showing your child to your family for the first time.  Thankful.  Blessed.  It is a feeling that could never be matched, an amazing time to cherish.  Then all of the sudden about 8 hours into it those feelings get overshadowed by the constant feedings, the trying to get out of bed when you have almost been cut in half.  Smiling when the 20th person walks in your room for a visit when all you want to do is feed this kid and take a nap. Your spinal wears off!   Sitting on the side of the bed realizing that you are never going to be the same.  Then going home makes it even worse.  The anxiety sets in.  How do I get this kid to stop crying, and is that a blister on my nipple?  You want to take all of those pretty parenting books and cute little trinkets and run over them with the car.  Baby's r us did not mention this feeling on their "We have everything" registry.  This is NOT what I signed up for!

Being a mom is the hardest job that I have ever had.  Someone always needs to be taken care of, and there is always things to do.  Taking a shower is no longer a necessity but a luxury.  Days where you feel glamorous because you are wearing jeans instead of sweat pants.  I turned in my stilettos for crocks! I should get the freaking Nobel peace prize for this work!  Then when you least expect it, they rock your world!  They pat your face and give you slobber kisses.  They tell you how much they love you.  They tell you that you are pretty.  They make your day.

The next time they are awake half of the night and you have those thoughts about this journey not being exactly what you thought it would be, I will think of all of those moments that make me want to do it all over again.  The smell of a newborn and the sweet sounds they make. The first time that they look at you and smile.  The first time you hear them call your name.  The laughter that outweighs the cries.  It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but the reward is endless.  They make my life worth living.  My cup overflows.

When the kids take their nap today, instead of watching their sweet little faces while they sleep, I am going to run and jump in the bed and take a nap too.