Happiness in the Crush

“You’re laughing more.”

“You seem so happy.”

“You’re a better mom.”

Statements like that should make you feel proud. You should be standing tall. Those are three things everyone strives for right?  Instead, they feel like punches to your gut.

Any working mom knows the drudgery that can become your routine if you are not careful, and sometimes even if you are. The get up to the morning rush followed by the crush of constant questioning, managing, and doing. Home and work. Work and home. Children and Husband. Husband and children. Family and friends. Friends and Family. Everyone is jockeying to be the front-runner.

So when one thing is removed from the equation, you get to concentrate on the others. Anyone with a betting soul is going to say that increases the odds for success. Except odds don’t take in account the person.

A person who loves being a mom, a friend, a daughter, a wife, a teacher, a coach. So bench one of those for a while and the others get more playing time. That’s how you become a better mom. That’s how you seem happier. That’s why you’re laughing more. It’s a dizzying experience. You get heady thinking about what could be.

But you have to go back. You have to join the masses that are forever searching for the balance between work and home and family and friends. You have to find the happiness in the crush. And when you experience those fleeting moments when it feels like you have achieved some measure of balance, hold on tight.

Your daughter tells you that she’s sad you are going back to work because it means you’ll have less time and won’t be at the bus stop everyday, but in the next breath, says how happy she is that you’re going back to work because she knows you miss your friends and now you get to take her to school again.

Back to the balancing act. It’s achievable. The six-year-old is on her way to getting it. I suppose her momma can figure it out too.


Run, Run, As Fast As You Can

If you’re ever hanging at therapy and your therapist slowly walks over to a drawer and surreptitiously pulls out what looks like one of those cheese spreaders you put out during parties, my best advice is simply to run. Run as far and as fast as your injured knee/ankle/foot/hip will allow. 
While my leg is getting stronger, the bad news is that alongside that strength sits my arch nemesis, scar tissue. I’ve garnered an up close and personal relationship  with cocoa butter and tennis balls, in that order. My skin has never been softer and yet the adhesions are steadfast. 

Which brings me to my sweet, kind, devilish therapist walking over with that instrument. There was no cheese in sight.  I checked. Unless you count the side of my knee. As hard as she tried, she just couldn’t smooth it out. 

I had thought she and I had come to an agreement. Therapy sessions were predictable: non painful massage, painful bending, less painful gym work, relieving ice. This was an unauthorized change of plans. I felt betrayed. 

Unfortunately this is not a relationship I can break off if I have any hopes of climbing stairs like a normal person ever again. 

So I will return. I couldn’t run away even if I tried. ūüôā 

What You Should Know

I never wanted to buy this house. I felt pressured to buy this house. When we were miles apart emotionally, how I willed for this house to sell. It never did. For now, we are still here.

If the day comes and we find ourselves packing up the belongings, we will be leaving behind years of frustration and love and memories. If you should happen to make this your next abode, you should probably know a few things.

You should know that there used to be a car port. I hated it. One day it fell down and our guardian angel kept us safe and now I miss it.

You should know that the kitchen is small. It’s been frustrating. Also know that every party we ever had ended up with amazing conversation while leaning up against the few counters.

You should know that the pink and green lady bug bedazzled bedroom belonged to the cutest little girl who just never had the heart to take them down. She loved them so.

You should know that there won’t ever be a drop of water in the basement. We spent the equivalent of a new car repairing the hidden damage and ensuring that all moisture be banned. You’re welcome.

You should know there is a small dent in the floor of the office. There’s a story behind that dent that would make you laugh out loud, a true LOL, if you will.

You should know that the bathroom upstairs was made that way on purpose. Hey, we are tall people. It’s nice to have things at your height when getting ready in the morning.

You should know that there was never enough space in this house. So we spent time with each other. We made memories that are far more important than any of the stuff crammed into the nooks and crannies.

I never liked this house.

But I’ll be sad to see it go.

Ditching the Wrenches

There are times when you are so proud of someone you want to grab every person within arm’s reach and let them know how amazing and wonderful things are.

I got dropped off at therapy last week and knew I was heading into the dead zone for communication. The basement where I am tortured rehabbed three times a week is not cell phone friendly. It’s taken some getting used to, the phone being silent for that hour and a half, only to light up like the 4th of July upon reentry. That day was no different. Except we’d been waiting on edge all week.¬†We’d come to the point where it’s time to move on. We’d talked about it endlessly. We’d accepted that the pros of potentially uprooting our lives far outweighed the cons.

When you work somewhere for a long time you settle in. You know the inner workings of things and how they tick. You know all the gears and how they turn. You also know the wrenches that get stuck and need to be worked out. Twelve years put in. The service provided is an impressively long list. The people who appreciate him are also many in number. But the wrenches. The wrenches get stuck. He pulls them out. They get stuck again. Some are so gummed up in the works, there seems to be no hope. Regardless, cutting ties is hard. But maybe a new machine with different wrenches could offer a new perspective.  But hell, that is some scary business! 

So as I am coming up the elevator, and waiting for the emails and texts and word press notifications to start lighting up my phone and bring me back to civilization, I get two text messages.

The first is

They just called and offered me the job!

and the second:

Crap, you don’t have a signal to get this message!!!!!¬†

I can attest that the leopard print wearing, walker wielding physical therapy cohorts of mine do not appreciate being surprised in such a manner as I may have surprised them.

But I don’t care. I am so proud of him.

Not His

She is growing so fast. It seems every day we let go of something.

She doesn’t fall asleep after one block in the car anymore.
Her favorite T-shirt shows all her belly when she raises up her arms.
She no longer packs up half the house’s worth of stuffed friends every time we leave.

As each moment flutters away and becomes a memory, a little piece of my heart twinges for what is missing.

He’s missing it all.

What I would give to hear his booming voice and loud laugh?
What would I sacrifice to see her sitting in his lap?

She’s never met him. She wasn’t even a twinkle when he passed. But just the same, as time goes by I’m missing him more and realizing that she is too. Even if she doesn’t know it.

She hears a booming laugh all the time. She has a lap to sit in. She gets all the love.

But not his.

2016 Poemy Monday, The Fourth

Last year I was inspired by a fellow slicer and ended Poemy Mondays with some found poetry from the month’s collection of blog post titles. Here is the 2016 edition:

Oh hey there
A slew of slicers
My March madness

The moments in between
A silent plea
Knock knock silent treatment
Why I wait

Bionic me
No win tag
Physical therapy

Maddie’s uniform
The child with no activities
Daddy’s got it handled

Transfer of Tradition
In circulation
On the back of the door

Graduation day

Transfer of Tradition 

Maddie started asking about twenty days before Easter. I mean at Valentine’s Day she made a basket of candy for the Easter Bunny. 

Are we going to dye eggs? When are we going to dye eggs? Can we dye eggs? 

The long anticipated day arrived and with gusto she filled those cups using precise measurements. She planned out each egg and even allowed mommy and daddy to do a few. 

I quietly placed an egg in red and waited. Listening to her giggle and carry on with her daddy. When it was just right, I carefully took it out and in it went to orange, yellow, and green. By this time it was turning a ghastly shade of pukish green. 

At this point Maddie notices and sighs and groans to show she just doesn’t understand this tradition of ours. It belongs to my mom, sister, brother, dad and me. 

So I sigh in return and try to tell her again about how mommy and aunt Jen and uncle Mike always made the ugly egg for Papa. How it started as an accident and then snowballed into a yearly jokey tradition. How her Papa would come home tired and weary from one of many shifts and in his boisterous way give us a hard time about this supremely ugly egg. How we would cover our faces with our little hands and try not to let him see the giggles. How we would fail miserably and love every second of it. 

Maddie giggles along at all the right places. I know it’s hard for her heart to attach to this story she is not a part of. I know my stories and pictures of Papa give her some connection but he’s not a three dimensional grandpa for her. He’s a memory of her momma’s. 

So Maddie looks at the ugly egg and exclaims “That looks like boogers! We should give that one to Grandpa!” She’s got her own endless jokes and tom foolery relationship with her other Grandpa. 

I can’t help but think that maybe Papa led us to this point. Maybe he wants to look down and see those little hands hiding a big ol’ smile. Or hear those little giggles abound. 

So Grandpa John is getting the ugly, I mean, booger egg.

And I know that Papa is smiling.