Adulting is Hard

27 Sep

This morning it was raining.  And cold.  And our jackets are in a box somewhere amongst our packed things.  Our umbrella broke last spring and I refused to let my little one spend $30.00 on a Princess Sofia one.  

And my van is in the shop with a broken transmission right before our moving day.

I could let my middle daughter skip school to avoid a damp walk.  But I’m letting her miss two days while we transition to our new home.

So we walked.  My still-healing foot bone ached in the damp air, and my brain just didn’t have the patience for the slow stroll to school.  My daughter with Down Syndrome doesn’t move fast.  Unless she is sneaking something she didn’t ask for (tablet, food, or Mom’s jewelry).  My brain didn’t want to go slow.  It was busy adulting and annoyed at the saunter.

I still need to pack the medicine cabinet.  What can we live without for day?  Do I have enough boxes to finish packing?  I think I have enough cleaning supplies.  Did I wipe down my closet?  Or just Dad’s?  I hope my oldest doesn’t get sick today.  Who would I call to pick him up?  I could call a cab, but I don’t think I have cash left.  I hope he remembers to bring home his diabetic supplies.  He grabbed extra bags today.  I wish I didn’t have to cancel my appointment today.  But maybe it’s better this way.  Most of my prescriptions are refilled, when do I pick them up?  How long do I have before I need to refill the others?  Can I make it with what I have for a few weeks?

My brain flutters with my adult thoughts and I try to just get to school so I can get home and pack and clean some more.  Then my youngest stops.  “Mom! Look! Purple flowers!” as she stops to view purple somethings along the sidewalk (I do not have anything close to a green thumb.  My plants are fake in my house so my cat doesn’t dig them up or eat them.)  My other girl stops to touch them as well too and signs flower.  

And I turn off my adulting.  And stop to admire the spots of purple along our walk.  Giggle as my girls race each other down the path.  Feel the cool fall air and admire the changing colors of the trees.

I just stop.  To be.  I need to do that more.  It makes the adulting a bit easier.

Sunshine and flowers

20 Sep

I’m not an optimist.  I’m not always a pessimist either (even with the things that make me worry).  I like to see myself as a realist.

But sometimes I need a pick me up.  Some days feel endless, some days I’m caught in the trap of my mind where I test my youngest for diabetes at the slightest symptom because I missed her brother’s early symptoms, cry because I ask my middle daughter how was her day for the millionth time in her school career.  Even knowing that she will only say hi.  And unless I get a note or a project in her backpack I have no clue how her day was.  

Some days are hard.  And I know there are others handling worse things. There are others also handling easier things.  Truth? 

That doesn’t matter.  This is me and I need to acknowledge and take care of me. I am important too.

So in this moment I pause and look at my shrubs to see if they need weeding.  And instead of weeds are flowers.  I didn’t plant them.  I don’t know how they grew there, but I welcome the beauty.  These sunny yellow flowers are my gift to pause and reflect.  And see the endless beauty of life.  And love.  To enjoy the moment.  And sunshine. 

And know that I have a purpose here.  And I am not alone in my journey.  And life really, really is good.

It Will Be Okay

17 Sep

Throughout my life I’ve picked up and relocated a few times.  Leaving high school to go to college.  The moment in college that my boyfriend graduated and took a job across state.  I transferred in my senior year of college and planned a wedding then.  When I became pregnant with our son and my husband had to choose between “possibly having a local job” or relocating and definitely having a job.  And then another two years down the road when said job hit a standstill and neither of us was happy where we were.  

We then moved here.  After a brief stink of living in my father-in-law’s place we found our house.  A fixer-upper we could afford in a very pretty location.  And that’s where we’ve been.

Through ups and downs.  The birth of two more children.  Heart surgery.  Diabetes.  An MBA.  Countless home improvements.  Adding two dogs to our family.  And another cat.  Twelve years of memories.  

Now we find ourselves less than two weeks from our new adventure in another city.  And I’m panicking wondering how to pack and clean everything.  If we have everything we need for school.  Adding any pending medical appointments (as I have to find new providers after all).  Saying goodbye to some really amazing people I have met throughout the years.

Truthfully.  I’m petrified, thrilled, and worried all at the same time.  When the anxiety hits I remind myself.

You have done this.  Look how awesome that turned out.

It will be an amazing adventure where you will find where you are meant to be next.

It will be ok.  Really it will.

So if you see me out and about buying more cleaning gloves or packing tape, you may see my permanent brow furrow.  I’m probably thinking of everything that needs to be done.  And I might be procrastinating as the same part of me that’s ready to move is also already missing my mountain, friends, and the serenity of my living room view.

If I’m muttering to myself I may just be repeating that it will be okay.  Sometimes I just need that reminder.  You’re welcome to tell me that too.

Paying It Forward

3 Sep

Today I brought my youngest to Walgreens to pick up some refills of medication.  We browsed the office supplies, and she stopped to pick out a treat for herself.  Walking to the pharmacy counter I passed a woman studying bandage tape and remembered being there a few weeks ago with my broken foot bone.

We paid for the medicine and got in the checkout line for the rest of our hodgepodge of school supplies and treats.  I saw the woman who had been looking at bandages placing piles of coins sorted on the counter where the cashier was patiently recounting.  The cashier smiled and said “your purse must feel so much lighter now!” and totaled the amount.

The woman was in tears as the cashier said she was still short.  She stared at her bag and asked if she could put something back.  Her eyes were heavy, I saw defeat in her body as she pondered what to put back.  The cashier asked the manager to do a void.

Here is where I asked how much she owed.  And dug in my purse without a second thought.  I thought of the sweet old man who had given my youngest the dollar bill for a treat the other day.  I thought how blessed I was to have a basket of miscellaneous unnecessary items.  And knew she had bandages in her bag.  I didn’t know what else she had.  Nor did I care.  The piles of coins, the look in her face as she tried to decide what she didn’t need.  That told me what she needed-all of it.

I had that exact amount of cash.  And handed it to the cashier whose eyes welled with tears. And the woman openly teared.  The cashier told me that she only had bandages in her bag. Again, I wouldn’t have judged or cared.  The woman then told me that they were for her granddaughter who broke her leg, but kept picking at her leg.  I asked how old she was (16 months) and said my girls would do that too as I hugged my youngest who was at my side.

She thanked me.  Her tired, watering blue eyes. Her voice and hands shaking.  Thanked me over and over.  I shook my head and said go take care of that baby:)  And she left.  We paid for our markers, pencil pouch, and HoHos.  Put my prescriptions in the bag and left ourselves.

She reminded me how grateful I am to be able to afford a treat now and then.  How healthy we all are right now (after all I have Das Booty!).  And it was the reminder that no matter what you are struggling with (juggling my time between work, packing, losing weight, and just getting everything we need to do done) there are others fighting their own battles.

So “have courage and be kind.”  Today was my turn.  I’d love to hear your stories too.  The world needs more kindness with all the hate.  Love is stronger than hate.

The Kindness in a Dollar

30 Aug

I walked into the battery store with a shattered iPhone (my son’s) and a four year old with a too-big flowered dress.  With a store called Batteries + Bulbs it didn’t carry anything my youngest would find entertaining.  But she was chatty and patient.  

An old man with a tattered baseball hat, clean Dickies denim overalls and shaky hands was in line.  He was the only other customer in the store.  The associate rang up his purchase which came to $16.00 and some odd change.  The old man said, “No, it was $12.67.”  Without blinking the associate turned back to his screen and said “let’s see what we can do” and began pushing buttons.

The man turned and smiled at my youngest and asked if she would be back in school this week.  My youngest is very tall for her age and doesn’t look four, so we talked again about how we are starting school when we get to our new house.  She told him about her purple flowers as the store associate said “There.  $12.67.” The man nodded.  I recognized the nod of satisfaction.  I’ve seen it before growing up in a small town with many rural people.  My own father would have that same nod as he would wave to each car he passed in the country where he grew up.

We waited as the man gave a twenty and pulled a plastic coin holder out of his pocket.  The same ones I remember car dealers giving as promotions back in the 80s.  In fact, it looked just as worn out as the one I knew was sitting in the junk drawer in my parents house.  I pictured it saying the name of the Chevy dealer we had to drive by nearly every Subday drive growing up.  “Let me see if I have the change” he said.  He held it out in front of him and the associate patiently took $.67 from that pouch.  He took his 8 dollar bills and dropped one on the counter.

Instead of putting that dollar bill in his wallet, he turned back to us and handed it to my youngest.  “Buy yourself a treat, honey” he said.” She did look back to make sure I was okay with that before she took it and said thank you.

This beautiful man with red, watering blue eyes, a wavering smile holding a carved black cane then talked about his grandchildren and how they were sweet too.  The oldest now in college.  Most of this conversation was between my youngest and the old man.  I smiled, my heart aching for the grandfathers I don’t have in my life anymore , but thankful my children are blessed with theirs.  We said goodbye and took our turn in line where the associate was just as kind and patient to us.  I love good customer service.  Some people just are amazing at what they do.  He was one of them.

I told my son about this exchange in the van.  He said the old man had walked out with a giant smile on his face.  Well, sir, that made three of us.  You made my day and my daughter’s day as well.  

She naturally wanted to immediately spend it on a treat and a purple slushee was the perfect thing.  But it was given to spend on a treat and that we did!  

Random acts of kindness do exist.  It’s our turn next and I can’t wait to share that moment with her.

Bad Mom

28 Aug

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I am a mean mom. Maybe a bad mom too. Probably.  Even this blog has four drafts sitting in it where I compile something sweet about my kids.

But the truth is, at the current moment I hate them.

My oldest spends his time on various video games or biking with friends. And then complains that the cat has pooped on his pillow.  By the way, since it’s his cat the cat boxes are his chore.  Das Booty and I slunk our way downstairs with my new one-handed laundry basket to wash sheets and I checked them.  

There was mold on the cat poop in the litter box.  So next time he tells me “yeah, I scooped the cat boxes” I’m calling absolute bullshit on that.  I’m glad the cat pooped there and I think he needs to use the allowance money he’s clearly not earning by snarling a “fine” to rotating the dishwasher only to put dirty dishes in the cupboard.  It’s a dishwasher!  It does the work for you!  I was his age washing dishes with a scouring pad and a sink full of Dawn dish soap.  You usually had to drain the sink because the water got cold mid-wash or oily.  Yet, my kid can’t be bothered to put the dishes away and set the dirty ones in a rack that you unwrap a soap pellet and push a button? 

My middle daughter doesn’t have many words to begin with.  But lately they have all been forgotten for the scream.  Or should I say scream(s).  The “do not go near me” scream, the “I want that right now” scream, the “no, I mean McDonalds-see right there where I’m pointing” scream, the “I don’t want to ride in the child seat I want to sit in the basket so you have no room to shop” scream, the “I won’t hold your hand in the parking lot” scream, the “I’ll go outside when I choose without telling you, what do you mean that’s not okay” scream, the “not this song” scream.  Even when she’s happy she’s screaming.  She’s swinging her heart out in our backyard.  Still screaming.

My ears hurt.  Redirection no longer works.  My voice seems to make no difference.  If I had a mute button I would make sure that I left that station on mute.  

And then the youngest.  My sucubus.  The little girl who refuses to be quiet and will continue to scream at  me “mom!  I said I saw a blue car!” unless she hears my acknowledgement of this amazing piece of knowledge I have no idea how I survived without.  Forget sitting.  She’s on my lap, climbing on my boot or snuggling up to my shoulder.  Cute, yes, but when you hear “mom! Arm!” because I’m not snuggling right I’m done. 

So, yes, I’m sorry dear children, but mommy doesn’t want to hear “it was my turn!” or “but I wanted to hug you!” I don’t want to hear you scream and I think anyone who throws his bread crusts on his bedroom floor deserves to have the cat pee on his pillow.

But I’ll probably love you again in five minutes.  Or twenty four hours.  It all depends on you.

Whatever Gets You Through 

22 Aug

I love walking.  I love when I can get a runner’s high on the elliptical and I love how I feel when I work out.

This summer that started slipping.  My “free” time (any time not tending to one of the million things my kids need during the day) was spent cleaning for house showings and packing for relocation.

And then suddenly it began to be painful to walk.  I thought tending to my kids was tough before, but trying to chase Nyssa back in the house when she escapes or walking downstairs to my washer and dryer…impossible.  

Until Das Booty.  I’m the proud owner of a sleek nylon orthopedic boot that squeaks when I walk, but I can walk.  I’m even more awkward than I was pre-orthopedic boot and I suddenly have no use for my left shoes.  My husband and I named the boot and to keep the loneliness of commuting at bay I share pictures of wherever Das Booty and I go.  We aren’t very busy.  Some Target runs, the library, the post office once and Das Booty did travel to Milwaukee over the weekend to spend time with college friends.

Today I took it to the gym.  In fairness I wanted to last Friday, but that particular rainy day my sassy special needs lady could not be in the same room as her sister without hitting her.  I couldn’t trust her with other kids in the childcare room, but today she managed!

But the stationary bike is the only cardio I can do without pressure on my foot.  I hate the stationary bike.  I read as I pedaled away, tried a show on Netflix, tried running music, but it wasn’t the same.  Honestly, I hated it.  But I trudged through just aiming for my 30 minutes.  

Around minute 25 I hit my wall.  I was about to throw in the towel and limp back to the childcare.  I was stopped by a squirrel.  It jumped up into the window pressing its forefeet into the glass.  I made eye contact with the furry critter and laughed.  A fellow biker and I watched this squirrel as he tried to dance in the window, then brushed his tail to the side as he climbed the side of the building.  Minute 28 I was still pedaling, but instead of thinking “I can’t stand this” I was laughing.

I finished my 30 minutes thanks to that squirrel and made sure my husband got a photo of Das Booty before I hobbled out the studio.  And thanks to my 30 minutes I kept some of my patience when the youngest threw her sister’s ball across the street, the middle smacking her sister to steal the purple beads from her neck even though the matching pink ones were around her own.  And the teenagers sigh as he complains about watching Zootopia again.  

Whatever it takes to get you through the day.