Eternal Sunshine

Today on Ron and Fez they posed the question ‘Would you pay to wipe your mind of unpleasant memories?’
I have mixed emotions, let’s say 90/10 exactly.

My first reaction is no. Everything I have experienced, good and bad, carved me into the person I am today. Every painful thing I experienced can be matched with something joyful. The death of my father/the birth of my daughter. I can’t feel the pure high of her birth without feeling the despairing agony of my father’s passing. As much as I hated to see my father die, in a strange way, that pain was my privilege. He was there at my beginning and I was there at his end. I washed his face and hands, I smoothed his hair and kissed his forehead. That was the price for loving him. I don’t believe in assigning blame for this heartbreak, this is the circle of life. All my joy and sorrow is the wheel of life that turns and turns for me. Just like for every bad day there is a good day. I want to experience it all. Experience eases our anxiety and gives us wisdom. I don’t want to forget any of it.

Now for my 10%

My friend’s husband passed away in December. He was the youngest of 5. His mother is elderly and living in a nursing home. Her memory is going. She can recall things from 1960 but not remember what happened yesterday. On the advice of her doctors, the family chose not to tell her that her youngest child passed away. In this instance, I have to agree. What benefit would there be in it? To give her the information that her youngest child is dead, the pain of that reaction, then having to return next week to her asking ‘Where’s Joey?’ I think her memory loss is protecting her from the worst thing a mother can experience, the death of her child.

A similar experience happened a few years ago when my stepfather had a pulmonary embolism and died in front of his elderly father. The father, who suffered from dementia, had no idea what was happening because he couldn’t remember who his son was. After my stepfather’s death he would ask ‘How is Mike doing? I heard he was sick” my mother would say ‘He’s ok now, don’t worry’ and he didn’t. He passed away a few years after that, never remembering his oldest child died in front of him. His dementia protected him in that way.

But there is always fear in memory loss. My grandmother had dementia. She would call my mom different names from her past. She would tell me she loved me and then not remember my name. It was like something shorted out in her head. Sometimes she could recall with clarity and other times she would cry in fear at her strange surroundings. She took great comfort in my daughter, whose name she never once forgot, in all her suffering.

But all in all, I wouldn’t want to forget. I just pray for more good than bad.

Cheers
~QE

Advertisements

Early retirement

Tomorrow I have a consultation with a doctor to have a tubal ligation.

I never thought in my life I would be actively ending my fertility. But let me start from the beginning, you need some perspective on my story.

My youngest brother was born when I was 8 years old. Despite all my entreaties to The Almighty for a sister, he gave me a 3rd brother. All my protests died on my lips when my beautiful Joshua was placed in my arms; from that moment on I became his second mother. I played with him, I cuddled him and whined when my mother took him from me to nurse him. He was my baby after all! I knew from the age of 8 that I wanted to be a mother. Little did I know it would be another 27 years before my wishes came true.

I met my husband in 1998. We became engaged in March of 2000 (I asked him) and we were married in May of 2001. We immediately started trying to get pregnant. I had it all planned out in my head, pregnant by September and I would present my parents with their 1st grandchild. I imagined how my family would be over the moon. We hadn’t had a new baby in our family in quite some time. My parents were just itching to become grandparents. It would all be so very perfect.

Nothing. Month after month, nothing. I didn’t give up hope. My mother told me it took her a few months to get pregnant with me, don’t stress out it.

Still nothing.

At my annual ‘oil change’ (i.e. yearly gyno appointment) my doctor had been reviewing my complaining symptoms and lack of pregnancy with a diagnosis. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The leading cause of infertility. My heart sank. I had a nagging fear of infertility for a long time. I remember thinking ‘Oh God I would just die if I could have kids’ Now my worst fears might possibly be real. Before I could panic, my doctor sent me to a specialist. The fertility specialist would help me get pregnant, I thought, they are experts. And besides, my family had no history of fertility problems. My mom gave birth to four fat healthy kids after all.

Fast forward six rounds of Clomid and three rounds of IV injectable drugs (and a husband who tested with a tremendously high sperm count) I still wasn’t pregnant. I was told at the pharmacy that my lifetime allowance for fertility drugs had been reached and if I wanted to continue it would be $1500 a month. I can honestly say I don’t remember walking back to work. I felt like my heart had been shattered into a million pieces. If fertility drugs couldn’t get me pregnant…… my hope was low. I cried for months.

Over the next few years, my brothers and their wives began to produce offspring. My oldest niece (and my parents 1st grandchild) was born in April of 2004. Despite my own struggles, I happily and joyful greeted each new baby with a happy heart. I couldn’t begrudge my brothers the joy of parenthood just because I couldn’t get pregnant.

Near the end of 2007 my doctor suggested that I could try losing weight to help with my fertility. PCOS causes weight gain and I had gained weight since marrying my husband. It could hurt anyway. So I joined a gym, started doing South Beach Diet and waited for my youngest brother Joshua and his wife to have their 1st baby. April 2008 gave me my first nephew ‘lil’ Josh. I was relatively happy at this point. I was losing weight, I had my friends, and family, I had a good husband. I had slowly start to accept that parenthood was not in the cards for me. I took immense joy in my godchildren, my nieces and now nephew. I was getting a grip.

Christmas 2008 was a bear. I was getting the flu and felt like garbage. I knew me and my husband would have to ‘do the rounds’ and I was dragging ass bad. I just wanted to sleep. But little did I know, I wasn’t really sick.

I was pregnant. I was finally pregnant!!!

Needless to say, there was never a better Christmas then 2008. I rung in the new year with pure unadulterated joy.

I’ll give you the short short version of the next 6 months. My father died in April of 2009 and my daughter was born 9 weeks early in June due to preeclampsia which had a ‘Stroke Team’ standing by during my delivery.

New Years 2009 I had a baby in my arms and my father in the ground. Needless to say, I had quite the struggle with mixed emotions.

And despite all of this, my greatest wish came true. At long last I was a mother. The thing I had prayed, cried and begged for was mine at last. All the heartache my husband endured with me, never once reproaching me for my lack of fertility, was ours at last. Our daughter was beautiful and perfect.

In the 4 and a half years since my daughter’s birth, I have not gotten pregnant again. I have done nothing to prevent it or actively tried to get pregnant. My reasoning was that if I was blessed with another child, so be it. If not, I wouldn’t ‘look a gift horse in the mouth’

Now as I approach 40, the dangers of getting pregnant now are paramount in my mind. I had a harrowing experience the 1st time around, did I really want to try again and be 5 years older doing it? The answer is no. I was given a beautiful daughter in reward for my years of struggle and she is enough.

But it seems so bittersweet to truly put an end to my fertility when for years my goal was to have a child. When I started on this journey, I wanted three children, two boys and a girl. By the end, I just wanted one healthy child and I got her. This is the hand I was dealt and I’m happy. But I guess there is just a tiny pang of longing for the son I will never have, the second daughter that might have been. But it’s time to put that struggle to an end.

Thank you, my fertility, for giving me enough in her.

DSC02101

Being vintage

 

I will be 40 in March. My best friend just turned 40, along with most of my graduating class. Some people I grew up with are turning 40 this year. Some are taking it well, some not and other are in completely denial.

Not me. Turning 40 is awesome and here’s why…..

I could give you some generic claptrap that ‘age ain’t nothing but a number’ or ‘you are only as old as you feel’ or better yet ‘I’m just celebrating the 20 anniversary of my 20th birthday’. But that is not it.

It’s a privilege to turn 40.

My father had a younger brother. He was a few weeks shy of his 21 birthday when he made a serious of stupid decisions involving drugs. In the course of events that followed, he was shot and killed. My 23 year old father was never the same.

Uncle Jim was just 20. He never got married, never had children,never bought a house and he never met me. I was born 3 months after his funeral. I was the niece he predicted would be born when everyone else told my mom she looked like she was carrying a boy. He told my mom the last time he saw her ‘Take care of my baby girl’ then rubbed her belly.

In honor of the uncle that loved me and never met me, I have decided to grow old in his honor. To take every year I am blessed to become one year older with grateful heart. I will do it for my father who didn’t live to see 60, which is a relatively young age now.

It is not so terrible a thing to grow older. At nearly 40, I feel more confident in myself then I did at 21. My life experience has molded me into a better person then I was, a more patient, loving person. I like who I am now.

40 is not so scary, 40 is awesome

Cheers

QE

306925_2069156646930_2302302_n

Walk with the angels Uncle Jim ❤

 

 

I’m raising someone’s future wife

I have a daughter. More than likely she will date and get married someday. As much as I worry about the kind of men she will bring home,
I worry about the kind of girl I’m sending out there. She’s going to be someone’s wife someday, and I’m going to do all I can to make sure
she’s a good one.

I’m not talking about the ‘humble and obedient’ bible description. I want a daughter that her husband feels lucky to have her.
I want her husband to say to me ‘You did a good job, she is amazing’

But in order to do that, I have to prevent her from falling into typical girl-like behavior. As I grow older (and hopefully wiser) I see
some of the mistakes I made as a young woman, behaving in a way that most girls do but shouldn’t. It took me a long time to change that behavior
and I hope I can prevent it entirely in my daughter. (wish me luck)

I feel I had a better insight in understanding the opposite sex by having three brothers. You get to know inside their brains, how they work and thinkand how to act accordingly. It helped me in the long run be a better wife.

I let my list explain…

~Enjoy your own company-do not rely on anyone to entertain you. Be comfortable with spending time by yourself. You will never be lonely if you know how to be alone.

~No hitting anyone, ever. We preach to our sons that it is a mortal sin to hit woman, but shouldn’t we be saying the same to our daughter? She should never raise her hand to anyone, unless it’s in self defense. She should never accept anyone striking her, ever.

~Don’t play the ‘nothing’ game. Man: what’s wrong? Woman:(sulky) nothing. followed by an hour of arguing as the truth is extracted bit by painful bit.If something is bothering you and someone asks about it. TELL THEM. no mind games. speak out and resolve.

~No one can read minds, some people can’t even take a hint. So if you like things a certain way, or want a particular pair of earrings for Christmas,just say so. Children have no problem filling out their Christmas list, don’t make your boyfriend/husband try and guess what you ‘might’ want.

~Stop getting pissed off at the strip clubs. Men are visually stimulated. They like looking at the female body. Don’t get yourself in a tizzy about bachelor parties, strip clubs, honking at girls in short dresses or him watching porn. If your man is running off with a stripper named Sexenia that he met at “Double D’s and Mees’ strip club, good riddance. Don’t saddle him or yourself with unnecessary guilt.

~Keep good words in your mouth. No name calling. Neither accept it nor participate in it. If you are going to have an adult relationship, calling someone a ‘shithead’ in front of his children is not just childish, it’s mean. Speak about behavior, don’t label.

~Learn not to be offended by dirty jokes. If it’s not your thing, fine. But don’t ‘tut-tut’ someone else for having a wicked sense of humor
(time and place are also a factor in this advice. It’s ok to correct someone telling a filthy joke at your baby’s kindergarten graduation)

~You may not like all his friends, but try getting to know them before you pass judgement. Besides, they are his friends. Respect the friendship.

~don’t force him to go to ‘chick flicks’ go with your girlfriends or *gasp* go alone.

~No event will change anyone. the sooner you learn to accept someone for exactly who they are, the happier you will be. don’t think
‘Everything will be better once we get married/have a baby/move away/his mother dies….etc’

~No one likes a constant complainer. We all got things we could bitch about endlessly, but who wants to hear it all day long?

~Speak up, Speak out and know when to shut up.

~Learn to let go gracefully. Break ups happen. Hearts get broken. But learn to handle pain with dignity. Letting go is hard but try to cope with grace and maturity. If you love someone and they hurt you, standing in front of his house telling everyone what a small dick he has doesn’t make him think ‘I need her back in my life’ It makes you look like a spiteful bitch.

~Don’t hate the befores. Everyone had a life before they met you. Mocking his past girlfriends makes you look insecure.

~If you trust him, don’t check his phone/email etc…If you don’t trust him……?

~Don’t let anyone talk shit about him. No one. They will remember what you let slide.

and last but not least

~If you ask him what he’s thinking, and he says ‘Nothing’ then it’s nothing.

Cheers
~QE

Weightlosswire.org steals peoples pictures to promote shit

Imagine that your family member made an awesome transformation and lost 45lbs.

Then you see a shitty company take the credit for it. When they had absolutely NOTHING to do with it.

This is what happened to @Suzesmuses, a fellow OA and R&F listener and supermom. Her daughter @megannnlee_  is pretty amazing and if you want to know the real story of how she lost the weight you should follow her.

liars

So I’ll be reporting @iive_Fit and @WeightLossWire for spam (they are clone accounts), and you should too…. And don’t click on any links from them.

As always…me and her

1234380_10151811120086435_1091305535_n

I’ve been having a rough week. Physically, emotionally and spiritually.

But let me give you a back story first.

When I was 13 years old, I met my best friend. I had been hanging at a mutual friend’s house at the time when Erica burst through the door, blood running down her leg and tears down her face. Erica’s parents had gone out for the night and she was home alone doing ‘girl stuff’ (washing hair, shaving legs, mani & pedi…etc) When she sliced her shin open shaving her leg. It was 7 at night, she was home alone and in her mind, it seemed like a lot of blood. She hobbled across the street to her friend’s house for help and bumped into me. While our mutual friend went to a neighbor’s house for help, I applied pressure to the wound, wiped her tears and told her a joke or too.

Fast forward 26 years later.

We (Erica and I) have four children between us. We have nursed each other through boyfriends, breakups, bad hair, kidney stones, graduations, job losses, weight gain, engagements, weddings pregnancies…everything. She is that one singular person that understands me. There is nothing about me she doesn’t know. She is my best friend. We can converse by looks alone. I sincerely think there is nothing in the world we can’t handle together.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be so arrogant.

Fast forward to last Sunday.

She calls me to tell me that her heater went out. The place is freezing and the kids are cold.

“Pack your stuff, I’ll come get you guys”

Her husband Joe greets me at the door as I walk in. We joke about the heater going out and how we have extra layers of fat to keep us warm. The kids think this is great that they get to sleep over ‘Nona’s’ house (Nona was a name I was christened with when their oldest child learned to speak)

I asked Joe if he was coming along to enjoy the heat.

“Nah, I have these little heaters and an electric blanket..I’m just gonna wrap myself in the blanket and play my computer games….and enjoy a nice quiet house to myself”

Typical.

He kissed his wife and his kids goodbye and told the kids to be good.

During the night, he had a stroke. Erica and I found him Monday morning, moaning in pain, with glassy eyes that were staring straight through us. We didn’t hesitate, I called an ambulance while she held his face in her hands telling him that help was on the way.

Tuesday afternoon, December 10th 2013 at 5:45pm, he breathed his last.

And her heart was shattered.

I was there when she told her three children their father was dead. I was there to hear their daughter scream out for her father, to hold their two sons as they sobbed, to hold my friend as she wept for the husband she loved. I could feel their heartbreak in my chest, like a physical pain. These are ‘our babies’ after all. I watched them be born, I held them after their father. I’ve stood as godmother to at least two of them. I chose the name of their younger son when they couldn’t decide. We are a family made through love and friendship. Their loss was my loss.

I couldn’t help them, I couldn’t make it ‘better’

I have never in all my life felt as helpless and as heartbroken as I have in the past week. Not even when I lost my own father did I feel such raw agony. I was 35 when my father died and I couldn’t understand why this had happened. Now I was trying to explain a loss of this magnitude to a 13 year old and two 7 year olds.

I took a picture of the twins before we told them. They gave me silly smiles, their cheeks were pink from playing in the snow all day. I wanted to capture the moment before….before they knew real pain. The last moment of their ‘old life’

Now they all have to get used to a new normal. Life without Joe. Life without Daddy. They have learned new words, like ‘death, dead and funeral.’ Words that even grownups don’t like (and some still don’t understand)

But my faith in humanity is unshaken. The outpouring for this family, for MY family is amazing. But long after the crowds stop calling, stop asking ‘Is there anything I can do?’ I will still be there, with my best friend, helping these kids like always. Not because I feel superior or need a pat on the back, but because things are still as they have always been, as they will always be…

me and my best friend

https://fundly.com/help-for-joe-hedgepeth-and-family?ft_src=fb_share

Donations are still be accepted and greatly appreciated.

Thank you and Happy Holidays

~QE

 

Orphan Fun

Awkward title but stay with me..  Why would you click on this? Just kidding, I wanted you too..

I will talk about fictional orphans though.

What the hell were we thinking taking my kids to see Oliver the musical?

  1. When my husband and I went on a trip to London, thanks to his dad’s credit card, we enjoyed a brilliant production of Oliver that was truly amazing and dynamic.
  2. Grandma got us free tickets to our local theater!
  3. Kids liked Annie, why wouldn’t they like Oliver? When we attended the middle school production of Annie, it appeared that they had a good time and the whole orphan theme works for them, let’s continue.

Clearly I totally forgot the whole premise of the movie, and that it wouldn’t work well for 3 kids 8 and under. From “common sense media” (a pretty good resource for seeing what is “age appropriate” with detailed descriptions so you the parent can decide if it makes sense for your kid to see the film.):

“It’s warm and memorable — and won six Oscars, including Best Picture — but some of the scenes depicting street urchins and the poor of London in the mid-1800s might be troublesome for some families. Some of the younger characters are shown smoking pipes, and their “employer,” the notorious Fagin, leader of their gang of pickpockets, has them drink gin. There are also scenes were poor people sing and carouse in a tavern. ”

Common sense media rated Oliver as age 8 for a good age, whereas Annie is age 6.

I also forgot how squirmy a 4yo girl would be, and even though they had booster seats for the chairs, she would take advantage of the slope at the end of the chair and keep sliding off her chair as if her seat was a tiny playground.

booster chair.png

Then she was confused of the pretty curtain, and thinking that it wasn’t really a play but a movie.

Then came the whispered questions, which four-year-olds are amazing at coming up with many of them.

Why is there a curtain?

Where are the people?

Is this a movie too?

Is the scene outside?

I said you have to be quiet and save your questions for the end.  Well it’s kind of outside, it seems like a courtyard, and I don’t know really.. hm… Be quiet ok?  I’ll get you a lollipop later. No this isn’t real life, technically, they are actors, those kids really have parents, I think..

Then the squirming began. I had my daughter on my lap and had to crane my neck to half-enjoy the performance. She’s gotten longer so she couldn’t quite fit comfortably for a nap.  I tried my best not to ruin the experience for our neighbors, the heavyset gentleman me earlier displaced from his seat.  (Dude, the seat numbers are on the chairs) and  the kind mom next to us was pretty understanding who had her daughter who was alot older than mine. She remembered when she took her daughter the first time and gave me that “I’ve been there” look.

I guess their lack of interest was good since they won’t be tempted to “pick a pocket or two” one of the catchy songs.. My daughter did like the food song.  My husband with the 2 boys who sat in a different section did not have one positive thing to share with me of the boys enjoying it, as he made the rolling eyes sign to me at the end of the intermission, followed by the let’s get out of here now thumb signal.  My 8yo looked like he just lost all his toys in a fire. So we left before it got worse, and someone may start sending us passive aggressive notes.  Though I would’ve enjoyed a glass of wine. (a la @theyearofelan news story)

Oh well, the more you know… The boys advised me maybe next time they can see a trailer or something before we waste money on a ticket.

Maybe we should see something more Star Wars-esque next time. Or superheroes, those are really cool.

Until next time,

@momsforopie

PS: Is there a play that your kids absolutely loved?  Let us know in the comments!