Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Monday, February 28, 2011

Single Parent Day

We have been sick for what feels like 6 weeks now. It started with a nasty cold and sinus infection and round of antibiotics that I brought home, then the girls each got a fever and ran it for several days. Those fevers moved into colds which then got their Uncle Joey sick. From there it came back to me and became an ear infection and another round of antibiotics. Then our youngest child got a bad cough and from there it has spread to my husband (who seems to avoid 90% of our ickyness) and then back to me and Uncle Joey. It has been frustrating and irritating, having kids and being sick is tough because you have to drop everything to care for your kids and somehow get through the day without biting their heads off or saying something you will later regret.

I woke up this morning and wondered briefly how my mother did it. She was a single parent and she had no support from a spouse if her head was pounding or if she was running a fever. She has to still get lunches made and get the kids to school, help with homework and wipe bottoms. I salute her today because while I feel miserable and so does my husband, we have each other and that combined misery makes us still able to get through the days and nights without our children going hungry or not having their needs met. My mum had to do it alone.

Whether by choice or not by choice, single parents have it rough. So a moment of silence in their honor please!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mommy Genes

I belong to a Mommy Group and I heard the most outrageous thing the other day, I heard a Mom refer to something silly she had done as her using her "Mommy brain". I'm sure I'm not the only person who has heard these words used to describe a lapse of memory or forgetfulness.

I bristle with this term. Here is a list of the things I have to remember in any given day: wake up and remember to take vitamins to keep strong, remember which child requires lactaid and which child doesn't, remember which child has the vitamins with the fluoride and which child has the asthma breathing treatment, remember which child needs help making her bed and which doesn't, remember to shower and dress and fix hair and look presentable, remember to put on underwear, remember to check and see if there is a lunch to be made or hot lunch, remember to make lunch and pack it in lunchbox to go to school, remember to get backpack and put a water bottle in it, remember to give this child a snack for snacktime, remember if it is library day and if the library book has been packed to return to the library so as not to incurr a late fee, remember to include homework folder, remember to sign the homework paperwork to indicate that you and your child have worked on it collaboratively, remember to leave the house with enough time to get to school walking, remember to bring your keys and phone in case you might need them on the walk to school, remember to have your kids go potty before they leave the house in case they need to pee on the way there, remember to put on raincoats or regular coats, regular boots or rain boots, depending on the weather, remember to put helmets on before getting the bikes and scooters out, remember the backpack so you don't have to run back home which makes your trip much more stressful, we are only at 8:30am.

For those of you that don't have kids and are wondering if this is something you might like to do but enjoy all the time you spend on and with yourself, take out a piece of paper and write on one side of the paper "Stuff Joy Does For Herself" and on the other side write "Stuff Joy Does For Her Kids" and then draw a line down the middle of the paper. Notice how many things are on one side versus how many things are on the other side. Now take a 2nd piece of paper and write down all the things you do for yourself and all the things you do for others and tally those up. It might not be for you. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of people who have kids who didn't really think it through.

I also find that I can remember poems, songs and stories without having to look at the books. This comes in especially handy when we are in the car or waiting in the doctor's office and one of the kids says, "Mommy, can you tell me the Kittens and the Mittens story" or "Mommy, can you tell me about the Owl and the Pussycat again?"

The next time you hear someone use the words "Mommy Brain" you should walk over to them and shake their hand or pat them on the back or better yet, give them a bear hug and kiss them on the lips. You might never come close to greatness again.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Grandma's Panties

Everyone has a great story that involves their grandparents. It might be a story about a fishing trip or a family vacation or a favorite meal they liked to prepare, whatever the case, grandparents are interesting and funny, quirky and outrageous. The other day I was in the kitchen, (where I prefer to be at all times) telling my husband stories about my grandmother and the kitchen (which was where I remember her preferring to be at all times). Just so we are clear, these were stories about my Mother's Mother, a large and sturdy woman from Missouri who could make cornbread sing in my stomach and who taught me things about molasses and introduced us horehound candy. Later in life she lost a ton of weight and became wizened and tiny but never lost her full bodied spirit.

So my daughter piped up with "Mommy, remember the story about Grandma and the veggie meat in her panties?" and we all started giggling. The story goes like this:

My sister is in prison. She has two children and my parents (Grandma and Grandpa) bring these children to her two or three times a year to visit. Once a year the prison allows an organization to come in and host an event for the women incarcerated and their kids. They usually have a bounce house, food, bbq, soda pop, face painting and other stuff. I'm gonna take my sister's word for this because I've never been to one of these events. Anyway, Grandma has been to several of these events and while they have great food that the inmates enjoy because they never get these food items in their cafeteria and great food for my neice and nephew because my folks are vegan, Grandma always suffers because they never have anything she can eat.

Remember, this is prison. My sister has achieved a very credible status in prison, if that is possible. She has all the perks that go along with it. She has the best behavior, she has not had infractions, she follows the rules, she has a great job and she is trusted by her fellow inmates as well as the staff and guards. She is however, in prison, so while her level of greatness is great, it only gets her so far. But for where she is, she is somebody important and trusted and that means a lot to her. On the flip side of greatness, if you are caught with contraband items or drugs you can spend time in solitary confinement, you can lose your job, your status which allows you certain freedoms, you get the picture.

So they are sitting at this family event and my sister notices that my mother is eating a slice of veggie meat. My sister says, "Where did you get that???" knowing full well that there is no veggie meat in prison and Grandma pulls the waistband of her pants out and shows my sister a little plastic baggie of veggie meat. My sister at this point, starts losing blood from her face as she realizes that while it is only veggie meat, she could get in a ton of trouble if caught with her mother who has smuggled anything at all, including veggie meat into her prison. She says, "Mom, put that away, you can get me into a lot of trouble" to which Grandma calmly says, "oh phooey, it is only veggie meat, plus, there is nothing here for me to eat" after which she fished out another slice and gobbled it up. She finished up all of the slices she had brought and then calmly pulled the baggie out of her underwear and then threw it away.

I don't think anyone saw her fishing veggie meat out of her panties, neither the guards or inmates, and if they did, I'd like to think they turned a blind eye to her. But the story makes me giggle every time I tell it and I can't wait until someday when they start telling stories about me.

Happy 5th anniversary Angela!