The many adventures of a not so perfect mom!

Mind your manners…… May 20, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — nottheduggars @ 8:37 pm
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Today was my day off of work. But as a mom to 7, there is never a day off or a dull moment. I am taking over color guard instructor duties at the high school for this coming year and try outs are this week. In addition to this, we have multiple concerts, graduations, field trips, field days, etc, etc, going on the next two weeks. The husband’s job is in the evening, after I get off work, so that leaves me to shuttle 7 kids in 7 different directions. Driving in a tourist town is not for the feint hearted, or the road rage-ish……and I am the queen of road rage. Add in that my meds are not keeping up with my own raging hormones and it’s lucky I’m not the lead story on the 5 o’clock news. Today I was particularly lucky…..

Today’s tryouts kind of fizzled due to lack of notice for the prospective participants. I had a feeling this may happen and because the husband had work and the boys had a band concert, I was not overly disappointed. I stopped by the store where the husband is a manager, dressed in my color guard instructor garb, to grab some easy to fix food for the kids who would be left at home while I attended the concert…..I thought. “Hey! Did you know Kindergarten graduation is TONIGHT?” the husband ever so gently drops on me. “WHAT? NO! WHEN?” I demand. “He needs to be there at 5:30, it starts at 5:45” the husband answered “Does he have anything to wear???” I ask  “Sarah said she would take care of it” was his reply. Now, while I admire my 9 year old stepping up to help, I couldn’t help but not be appeased by this. SO now I needed to change clothes, fix my hair, get a 7 year old dressed, take the big boys to their call time for their concert, get Benjamin to his graduation, and try to get out of there in time to catch the last of Jonathan’s final high school concert.

The big boys were ready to leave, NOW, as soon as I walked in the door. “I HAVE TO GET DRESSED!! THEN WE WILL GO!” Hannah took over getting Benjamin ready while I threw on some nice clothes and flat ironed my hair. I got ready in record time and got three boys loaded in the car. Then I took off for the high school, on the other side of town from the elementary school….of course. We got there and the boys flew out of the car to join their friends. With time to kill, Benjamin and I went by to see Dad before we headed to his big graduation. After a quick visit, we headed for the school, hoping to be early enough to get a parking space. We were plenty early. Graduation was at 6, not 5:30. I chose my parking spot carefully, knowing I would be in a hurry to get over to the high school to see some of Jonathan’s last concert. Then we went in to find a place to sit.

Slowly, the gym filled with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings. I started feeling a little guilty at not allowing any of Benjamin’s siblings to attend his graduation, but I knew the car would be crowded and I would be doing a lot of running around town. My thoughts kept going to the concert I was missing and I kept checking my watch. As the time crept past 6 o’clock, my patience wore thin. FINALLY, the principal came up to speak. Normally, when someone begins to speak, everyone else gets quiet. Not these people! I seriously shushed them and gave them my best teacher death glares. Have people lost ALL sense of manners??? Plus, I wanted this show on the road. Cuteness abounded with their carefully planned program. Then they got their diplomas, dismissed to separate areas and we were allowed to pick them up. I sprinted over to Benjamin and headed out the door. I quickly told him how proud I was of him. I spotted the music teacher who had put on the program walking out with us, and praised her work. I explained that my mother had been an elementary music teacher so I understood the time and effort that went into a program and thanked her for her work. Then I rounded the building to head to my car…….

“No. No way…..REALLY????” I  was blocked in by two cars. “SO I get here early, get a parking spot, and some late bozo blocks me IN?” I stood there, waiting impatiently, thinking that SURELY the people who KNOWINGLY blocked someone in would hurry back to their cars to make sure not to inconvenience others. Apparently I was the only one raised with manners. I waited……and waited….and got more and more enraged. I finally grabbed Benjamin and marched BACK into the school to find the principal. I let her know some idiots had blocked others in and I was trying to make it to the concert on the other side of town. She hurried to appease the crazy eyed mom by making an announcement while I marched angrily back out to the car. There was a woman, strolling at a very leisurely pace toward one of the offending cars. I beat her and made it to mine, yelling at Benjamin to hurry and buckle in so we could leave as soon as the cars got out of the way. “Oh, sorry…..” was the reply as she STILL DIDN’T HURRY AT ALL. “If you are sorry, then HURRY UP!” My manners left with my patience. I pealed out of the parking lot like Jimmy Johnson and made my way toward the high school…..again.

I didn’t make it in time for the concert. I missed Jonathan being introduced as one of the seniors, but only after the band director had to pause to think WHICH of my kids this was standing in front of him. He explained to the audience that in all fairness there were 5 of them and it took him a minute to remember which one he was. And I missed this funny moment. But I got to see my baby graduate. and next week I will see my original baby graduate from high school and my 8th grader graduate the next day.

The moral of this blog post is people need to think of others as well as themselves, this mom included. But simple things like not blocking people in, showing respect when someone is speaking, these things mean a lot. Our children are watching and learning. We want them to learn the right things…..and not the plethora of words this mom used racing the mean streets of this tourist town. My mommy award will have to wait for another day.



Sing, Sing, Sing April 2, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — nottheduggars @ 8:59 pm
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My grandfather’s first night in the hospital, the day before his surgery, he saw something. My aunt was staying with him so that my grandmother could get some rest. But he swore he saw something in the upper right corner of his room. He could see people milling around talking and some dancing to music. The television was not on and the angle that it was at did not allow for reflections from the hallway, but still my aunt checked to see. Nothing. But to my grandfather it was crystal clear. Just like television. He saw a party going on. Hearing this made my stomach drop, because I was not ready to loose him just yet. If this was a glimpse of heaven, heaven would have to wait.

Heaven no longer has to wait. My Granddaddy joined that party at 12:45pm today. I know that he, Charlie Spivak, Benny Goodman and all the rest have the joint jumping. My Granddaddy is no longer in pain. He is no longer nauseous. He is healed and whole, and waiting on his bride to join him at the party. Sorry Granddaddy, we plan to keep her a little while longer! Until then, play with that heavenly band while you wait for us. We love you dearly.

Ready for the party

Ready for the party


Musical fingerings….. March 30, 2014

I got the message at work: Call your mom or your aunt. My mind began to race with possibilities. I hadn’t heard of anyone being ill…..was there an accident? Moving closer to “home” had not helped with communication. I think Facebook leaves us thinking, oh, they saw my post……or I told them that…….Add in my shame with my current situation, I hadn’t been calling. So this came as a surprise. I quickly asked for relief so I could go make the call. My grandfather was sick. He had been declining, but now his kidneys were shutting down and the doctor had admitted him to the hospital. “I’m coming.” was my quick reply.
I quickly called my supervisor and explained the situation. I had not seen my Grandfather in almost a year. For this I was angry. I had seen family events I felt I had not been invited to over the summer with “family” pictures. Now he was sick. No worries, they would get my shifts covered so I could go see him. I got home late that night and quickly began throwing things into a bag. I would leave first thing in the morning for the hour and a half drive home.
I got up early to avoid the tourist traffic that bogs down our roads out of town. Travelling alone, I made good time. I was stressed. I drove white-knuckled all the way there. Once in town, I stopped at my favorite local drive thru to grab some breakfast. I got to my mother’s house and immediately went in to scarf my breakfast down. On the way home I had spoken briefly with my mom to get an update on my grandfather and more background into his health. He’d been tired and lacking appetite for months. His strength was waning. He had lost forty pounds. The doctors had done some blood work and discovered that his kidneys were not functioning and he needed to get to the hospital. Dialysis in people his age had a high mortality. The plan was to start some meds, and do exploratory surgery to see if they could get his kidneys functioning better. He would go into surgery at 10am. I got to the house about 9:30am. As I quickly ate, I overheard my mother (who was not aware I was there yet) answer her phone. I quickly determined she was talking to my dad and she was as stressed as I was. She got off the phone and walked into the kitchen, where I surprised her. “Oh! Your here! Well, hurry if you want to ride with me to the hospital. I’ve got to drop Spencer off at the Christmas tree lot where he’s working with his JROTC.” “Okay!” I didn’t want to drive, as I have my father’s sense of direction and would have gotten lost in my own hometown trying to navigate the weird path to get to this hospital.
We hopped in the car and rushed to pick up Spencer up in order to drop him off. I looked over to see my mother driving the same way I had: white-knuckled. We were worried. Neither of us said anything. As always, mom had the radio going. In our family, music is genetic. And it stems from my grandfather….
My grandfather is a musician. He plays trumpet, piano and organ. His genre is Big Band. Name a “big name” Big Band musician and he has played with him: Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Charlie Spivak…….these were his friends and colleagues. All my life, I’d seen him playing: at church, in parades, on TV, even in a movie. He and my uncle played in the bar scene of Coal Miner’s Daughter, where Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn sings for the first time. My grandfather had his own band. Many of the men were like family and many WERE family. My father played with him for many years. Our holiday plans revolved around when and where the band would be playing. My grandfather is an amazing musician. He owned a piano store for decades. would sometimes go there after school and practice my lessons. One time I was struggling with a pop song arrangement. “What are you playing?” my grandfather demanded. He then sat down and played it perfectly, having only heard it from my struggling fingers. Often times, he did not need music. He could play and improvise flawlessly. While rehearsing for my wedding with my uncle, the two of them communicated with hand gestures to change keys mid song.
Everyone in my family plays something: siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and in-laws…..we’ve even played as an orchestra at several churches. My mother is a retired music teacher with years teaching marching band, concert band and then moving to elementary music where she put on performances with every grade. She was also a church pianist/organist longer then I have been alive. Her instrument of choice outside of piano was clarinet, like my grandmother had played. My mother had also been a piano teacher for years and years. At my insistence, she began teaching me when I was four and transferred me to my beloved piano teacher Mrs. Wilcox at the age of 6, knowing I when learn better from someone else! (I would listen better, plus as I now know first hand, your patience wears thin with your own kids after teaching others all day!) I took to piano like a duck to water. While attending my little brother’s pre-school Christmas performance, my dad looked down in awe as I “fingered” the songs they were singing. I was 7. This is something I would continue to do as I listened to music, especially anything I had played before. It was soothing. It was second nature. Most times, I don’t even realize I’m doing it.
As mom rushed us to the hospital after dropping off Spencer, I saw her doing the same thing: fingering along to the song on the radio. I doubt she even realized she was doing it. It was an outlet as it is for me, in the absence of a piano.
We got to the hospital and found my aunt in the hallway. A huge, long bear hug ensued as she quickly and quietly sobbed. As she does, she got it together and led us to the waiting room where my grandmother and aunt Emily were waiting. Friends wandered in and out as we waited. As often happens when I get together with my aunts, we got silly and laughed…..a LOT! It helped. My grandmother was aggravated by the fact she could not see well until she realized she was wearing my grandfather’s glasses. My aunts, mom and I laughed until we cried while she laughingly scolded us while searching for her glasses.
We waited for word that granddaddy was out of surgery. My aunt was the liaison between the staff and the family. As a nurse she could easily decipher the medical lingo for us. She warned the nurses that he would wake up cold and cranky. They quickly confirmed she was right! At first we were told he would be in the recovery room for two hours while they watched him. An hour later, they said they were sending him back to his room. I quickly concluded that they were DONE with the cranky old man and if he could cause that much ruckus, he could do so in his room!
We quickly ran to his room to wait for him. His room was tiny, and there were several of us, so we waited in the hall. After an eternity, they finally rolled him down the hall. My mom, uncle, aunts, and former band members all waited. As they backed him into his room, Granddaddy looked up and the first words out of his mouth were: “Well! There’s Melissa!” To say that made my day, is a vast understatement. Overwhelming love melted away lingering anger. I rushed to his side as the nurse worked to get him settled. Granddaddy’s personality was back in full force. He was lovingly cranky, cold, and HUNGRY for the first time in months. We worked on getting him a meal ordered as the nurse continued his care. “I need to check your sugars” the nurse told him. “WHAT? You have to STICK ME?” “Yes sir, just a little.” “You better be careful! These are WORLD FAMOUS hands! I’m a musician!” and to prove it he wiggled his fingers and gave her a smartass leer. As she went about getting everything done, my grandfather got quiet. I looked over. There he was…..fingering. There was no music playing, but when you’ve played for years, the music echoes in your head and heart.
The relief among us as palpable. He was SO much better. He cleaned his plate when they brought him his supper. He was cantankerous and difficult, which is to say he was heading back toward normal. We didn’t have answers as to WHY his kidneys shut down, but they were working much better now. We had our world-famous musician back with us for at least a little longer.
I’m forever grateful I made that trip. Granddaddy gave us several more months. But now he is nearing the end. Hospice has been called. The multitude of situations I have no control over are staggering and stressful. I can’t get home and I want to. My stress comes out as anger and tears. I yearn for a piano to take out some pent up emotions….but until I can get to one, I will finger the music in my heart…..just like my mother……just like my granddaddy.


I will kill you. Dead. March 28, 2014

I always assumed that the drama associated with teenage dating would mainly involve my girls as they got older. I was wrong. Having boys that date is just as dramatic. Noah, my just turned 17 year old, has been “dating” for a couple of years. His first girlfriend was long distance. We had just moved and he and his “girlfriend” decided they would be a couple. I was ALL for a relationship that had 250 miles between them. NO grandkids that way! But even with that one, he would spend HOURS on the phone with her. It was mildly bothersome, but not overly intrusive. Plus the no grandkids thing.
So as expected, that relationship did not last. It ended amicably for both parties, which I took for granted. Next was his first “real” girlfriend, who lived in the same town, went to the same school, in the same marching band with him. We liked this girlfriend. She was sweet. Her parents would pick Noah up to accompany them to church most Sundays. This was good! Then they broke up. Noah was devastated and unbearable to be around for a good week. Then he came home practically giddy. “You got back together, didn’t you?” I asked him. I was right. I was glad to see Noah happy again, but a little more cautious about the whole relationship. They really didn’t go OUT much. And they did not text at all hours, which I appreciated. But still, I could tell things were fizzling out, it was just a matter of time.
The boys went on their band trip to Disney, which took place over Valentine’s Day. Noah left as part of a couple, but returned single….and happy! He was fine! The girlfriend had actually broken up with him the day after Valentine’s Day, but to be honest, it was mutual. What I didn’t understand, though, was why the entire instrument section the girlfriend was in was PISSED at Noah! SHE broke up with HIM! What was the deal? I would find out later.
So Noah returned happy, single and care free, and apparently ready to date every available teen girl. I was not liking this. The part time job he has allows him to get in most of the attractions around town for free so this is very conducive for cheap dating. It seemed like he was making plans with TOO many different girls. I had a talk with him that basically went like this: “Don’t be a man whore.” “I can’t have FRIENDS?” he protested. I tried to explain. But before I knew it, he had another girlfriend. I wasn’t liking how quickly he was bouncing from relationship to relationship.
During all of this drama, I had the Surly teen, who is a year older, giving HIS opinion on EVERYTHING. He was not crazy about the old girlfriend, but the NEW girlfriend sent him raging. He had MANY opinions on HER. A side note: The Surly Teen is called the Surly Teen for a reason. He is grumpy and curmudgeonly. In his later years, he will be the old man who yells at kids to get off his lawn. He doesn’t like many or much. Therefore, we took his protests and opinions with a grain of salt. But still, he was pretty adamant, so it had our guard up. Our parenting snooping skills kicked in. We met the new girlfriend during a three day soccer tournament the boys were in at their school. We were able to witness their interactions between games. Let’s just say I am grateful for phones with texting capabilities. “Get your head out of her lap NOW!!” He would later say “But mom, I was tired and just laying my head down. And she was running her fingers through my hair. It felt so good, like a head massage.” Cue mom to take a Xanax
Let’s back up just a little. A while back on our way home from picking up the boys from soccer, Jonathan told us about a girl at school who was pregnant and another who went into labor AT school. My first thought was what a horrible situation it was for these girls and then it hit me: the fathers of these boys were MY boys’ages! Especially thinking about my little Romeo. I turned to both of them and said: “I will kill you. DEAD! DON’T DO IT!” Jonathan quickly quipped “Really? Me?” and I said, “Yeah, I know.” Then I turned specifically to Noah and repeated my new mantra: “I will kill YOU. DEAD. DON’T DO IT!” He quickly tried to reassure me of his plans to play pro soccer and all. Still, my mantra continued.
Fast forward. Jonathan’s dislike of the new girlfriend was so strong that Noah was sneaking around him to see her. (He told us, but didn’t want Jonathan to know.) One evening Noah made last minute plans to meet the new girl to visit some of the attractions he can get into for free. We dropped him off and returned home to a full interrogation from Jonathan. We quickly gave in and told him where we had taken Noah. Well, as often happens when one sibling is mad at another, the secrets began to spill. “Do you want to know WHY the [X] section is mad at Noah???” he queried. I had actually been turning that over in my head and had chalked it up to “girl politics”. But I WAS curious. So Jonathan eagerly obliged. It seems that when Noah was dumped on the band trip, EVEN though we all knew it was coming, he was mad. So what did MY son do? Found another girl and MADE OUT WITH HER ON THE BUS TRIP HOME. I was LIVID! No WONDER they were angry! Much to Noah’s misfortune, his plans had inadvertently fizzled and he needed us to pick him up NOW. Oh, we were going to pick him up! I couldn’t even speak, I was so angry. Matt started to pick around the edges of the situation when I took over: “DO YOU WANT TO TELL ME WHY THE [X] SECTION IS MAD AT YOU????” I demanded. Silence from the back seat. “GO INTO THE PARK!” I ordered Matt. I didn’t want Noah storming out of the car while we had our little discussion, because OH BOY were we going to have a discussion. Into the National park we went, found a pull off, and parked. I slammed the inside lights on in the car to better interrogate my son. “TELL ME!” I demanded. “What did Jonathan tell you?” he asked petulantly. And I told him. Yes, he said, he had done that. “SERIOUSLY? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? YOU DON’T DO THAT! YOU DON’T TREAT GIRLS THAT WAY! YOU ARE GOING TO APOLOGIZE BECAUSE THAT WAS A CRAPPY THING TO DO!!” I loudly informed him. “I ALREADY DID!” he informed me. Silence. “Good!” I told him. “I knew she (the girl he made out with) was a rebound and it wouldn’t work.” “YOU ARE GOING TO APOLOGIZE TO HER TOO! YOU DON’T USE GIRLS LIKE THAT!! HOW DO YOU THINK THAT MADE HER FEEL? WHAT IF SOMEONE DID THAT TO ONE OF YOUR SISTERS? YOU. DO. NOT. DO. THAT. TO. GIRLS!” Again, grumbling. Then I went a little further into my “safe sex” spiel. “You don’t need this right now. You have plans, that don’t include having to drop out to support a baby. You want to go to college, play sports, join the military. THAT is what you need to be focusing on.” He assured us that he had NO intention of doing anything, and that he had told her as much. We counseled him to be sure NOT to put him in situations were that could be tempting. He was NOT to be alone with her at her house and even if there was a parent there he was NOT to be in a room with the door closed. We explained that sex will mess with you mentally, physically and emotionally, that there is a REASON it is meant for MARRIAGE and NOT to be taken lightly. Then we went on to tell him about some information that concerned us about the new girlfriend. After that I wrapped it up. “This is just a lecture. It’s over. Learn and move on. DON’T DO IT AGAIN! There are no punishment, but if you go home and have a crappy attitude toward everyone, you WILL be punished!” So we returned home.
He had a crappy attitude. He “accidentally” kicked something coming back into the house. More yelling ensued as he slammed the bathroom door. Not too long after he finally retreated from sulking in the bathroom to sulking in the living room, I went to the bathroom myself. As I was sitting there, I noticed Noah had left his wallet on the sink. He never does that. Given recent development, I began to wonder…….then I began to snoop. I didn’t have to look long.
The fact that I did NOT stroke out is a miracle. I raced down the hall to get my husband. “Come here NOW!” I whispered. Matt followed me down the hall. I pointed to the wallet. “LOOK!” I demanded. Before he even looked he said “Oh, noooooo……really?” “YES!” I hissed. Questions were racing through my head: How long has he had this? WHERE did he get it? Did the school give it to him, because if they did I was gonna have a hissy fit come Monday. About that time Jonathan wandered down the hall. “Did you know about THIS?” I asked him. “Oh, that. Yeah…..” “DID THE SCHOOL GIVE THOSE OUT?” “NO! A friend had a bunch as a joke and was throwing them out to friends. That was months ago.” Okay. So this wasn’t new. He was keeping it to show off to friends….I hope. Still, what do I do? Take it, and risk grandkids? Leave it and risk him USING it. What to do? And then it hit me. “Get me a sharpie…..”
Written on the “object” is the safe sex mantra: I will kill you. Dead. DON’T DO IT!. Hopefully reading these words and hearing MY voice echo through his head will kill ANY mood that may have triggered reaching for that object. I thought boys were supposed to be easier….


I’m baaaaaaack!

Filed under: Uncategorized — nottheduggars @ 5:51 pm
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It has been well over a year since I last posted. For that, I apologize. About this time last year, I started a “part-time” job. I loved it and was passionate about it. I was working with animals and was in Heaven. So much so, that I didn’t see that it was sucking all my time away from my family and that the working atmosphere was really kind of crappy. I didn’t care. I got to see a sassy sea turtle, snobby sting rays, pufferfish and penguins every day. Even though this job was part time, I was still there a lot, usually on an evening shift or a double. There are pros and cons to living in a small town. One con of this small town is WHO you know is KING. Your work ethic, professionalism, etc, don’t mean squat. Your last name does. And of course there are always bosses, good and bad. Guess which I had? I’ll just throw out some adjectives: arrogant, egotistical, cocky……you get the idea. If you weren’t up his behind or kissing his feet, you were walking shaky ground. In my case, I didn’t have a “last name” of note. And I made some butt kissers upset because I made complaints of favoritism. So I was fired, and I was devastated.
For a first born, my sense of fairness and justice was trampled upon. I sunk into a deep pit of self pity and anger that still lingers. But honestly? Things like this happen to MANY people. Not ALL people, and especially not in this small town, but it happens and it sucks. So do you wallow or move on? I’m doing both. I’m trying my hardest to move on and not wallow, but payback scenarios play through my head a lot. (Nothing violent, just those involved getting some of their own medicine or being found out for the horrible job they actually do and fired themselves!)
So what now? Actually, I’ve started ANOTHER job. This one is full time, with benefits (that AREN’T Obamacare!), higher pay, and the perfect mommy schedule. Same time every day, off not long after the kids get off the bus! I’m still getting to interact with new people daily, an aspect of my other job that I loved. And so far so good with the coworkers I will be working with. PLUS it is even closer to my house then the last job, meaning I can literally leave my house at 5 minutes till and get there with a minute or two to spare. A former coworker that I had a long conversation with about my anger over the previous situation put it pretty clearly: Maybe God didn’t want me there and was getting me out to protect me. That’s what helped me turn the corner. My new job is practically tailor made for my needs. And for that I am grateful.
With the new schedule, making time to blog should not be a problem! I truly have missed it and I a looking forward to getting back to it. I am contemplating renaming and restyling the blog to something less “dated”. Any suggestions are welcome!


Effing Cookies….. March 18, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — nottheduggars @ 10:35 pm
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My day started with one thing on my mind: Jonah’s neurologist appointment at 1pm. I had NOT been able to sleep the night before, due to anxiety. I’d finally given up and taken my shower at 5 a.m., intending on hopefully getting a nap and then fixing my hair before we dashed out the door. We of COURSE over slept our nap and had to do everything in supersonic mode. We managed to get there, right on time despite wildfires and storms. They took us right back, the appointment was short, sweet and easy. We got the answers we were looking for and were back out the door by 1:45pm!

It felt like a weight had been lifted. I’d worried so much over the appointment: getting there, what the doctor would say, planning everything around it. It was over, the answers were good! PHEW! GO home and take a much needed nap. BUT no. You see, I have 7 kids determined to drive me batcrap crazy.

Jeremiah had mentioned he needed to make cookies for a 4H project due Tuesday. He of course waits until Sunday evening, while I’m worrying about a doctor’s appointment and nothing else. I asked him for more information. His man genes are kicking in, so I got them sparingly. The ONE thing he emphasized was that they HAVE to be made by scratch. Really? Do these people WANT me to kill them? “Why don’t we just get the premade stuff, squish it up to look homemade and bake it….huh?” Jeremiah lost his mind. “NOOOOOOO!!!!! THEY will KNOW!!!!! It HAS TO BE FROM SCRATCH!” Whatever, I’ll look into it after the appointment!

So as I’m coming home on my post appointment high, it hits me: I have to cook effing cookies. I’m tired, need a nap, but NO! I have to make effing cookies….FROM SCRATCH! Screw it. I’m taking a small nap before we pick the boys up from soccer, then we’ll get the supplies needed after. The rain was pouring down, so I predicted we would get an early call to pick them up ahead of schedule. We did. Early enough that we got no nap. On the way to pick up the boys, the absurdity of what I have to do hits me. I have to make effing cookies. We’ll have to stop at the McDonald’s to steal their wifi, so I can find an effing recipe to make EFFING COOKIES. We pick up the boys, all while I rant and rave over the effing cookies I need to make for school tomorrow. I didn’t remember signing him up for 4H. Apparently at this new school, EVERYONE does 4H. Non-voluntary. Grumbling, I threatened to substitute salt for sugar and then see if they ever ask ME to make effing cookies again. We got to McDonald’s and I googled EASY Sugar Cookie Recipes. This came up with the additional “for kids” at the end. BINGO! Since Jeremiah WAS supposed to be involved in this…..yeah….right…..have I told you how much I hate projects? Ggggrrrrrr….I found one with minimal ingrediants that looked hard to screw up. Now to go to the store to by the effing ingredients for the effing cookies.

Our refrigerator is not working, so we are stuck buying what we need to cook with on a daily basis. While the weather was frigid, we used the front porch to keep our drinks cool and then we also have a small, dorm style, refrigerator. Plus, I DON’T COOK FROM SCRATCH…….EVER! God bless my Mimi, and her homemade everything, but I was NOT blessed with the gift of cooking. If it doesn’t come in a box first, we’re screwed. Then the thought of just how much is this “project” going to cost us???? I had to buy ALL the ingredients: butter, sugar, flour, baking soda, vanilla and an egg. Total spent to make effing cookies: $15. I walked out to the car, grumbling and muttering. I announced to Matt that we WOULD be eating out for supper, because I had to make effing cookies!

We got food to feed the kids and returned home, just as the afternoon’s storm finally let up. I was greeted by all of my pups, but none so enthusiastically as our newest pup, Chewie. Chewie is an Austrailian Shepherd mix puppy with an abundance of energy. He had not had the opportunity to get ANY of it out. SO since he obviously needed a good walk, and the butter needed to ‘soften’ anyway, I leashed him up and off we went. Walking him was a nice stress reliever, as he romped through our park/neighborhood. Chewie is already a Velcro dog, so I don’t have to worry about him running off, like his naughty puppy siblings like to do In fact, just the night before, Chewie had “herded” Yoda back to the house, earning him MAJOR puppy points!

Back home and everyone except for myself had eaten supper. I knew I would not digest until this project was done and over with. My knee, after today’s walk and two very long Chewie walks yesterday, was aching. The plan was for me to sit and bark orders, mix the ingredients, slop it on a cookie sheet and let the husband stick them in the over. Simple plan, right? WRONG! I was trying to watch my language around the younger kids, as I’d already blown it infront of the teens to their hilariously laughing delight. I began barking orders: bring me a mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons and something to stir with! NOW! After this order was ignored ONE BAJILLION TIMES, Mommy lost her shit. The stress of this morning and now this was too much for one mere woman. GET THE EFFING BOWL, GET OFF THE EFFING COMPUTER, BRING ME THE EFFING INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THE EFFING COOKIES BEFORE I LOOSE MY EFFING MIND! The husband finally saw that I was truly past the batcrap crazy line, and got up to help order children around. I began to ask Jeremiah questions I should have long before: How many do you have to take to school anyway? CRAP! Do I have to go buy something for you to take this in?????? “No. I just need to take in one cookie.” “ONE EFFING COOKIE???? ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME???” “Yep! Just one……to be judged!” “JUDGED?!?!?!?!” My mind began to reel as thoughts of my attaching a : not suitable for human consumption tag flew out the window.

Meanwhile, the kids are reveling in my mommy meltdown, doing whatever they can to make it WORSE. Our house full of animals all want to “help”. “PUT THE DOGS ON THE PORCH……NOW!” I demanded. And as the kittens began crawling up me to get to the butter, they too, got the boot to the porch. Just a minute after booting the kittens onto the porch, the pitiful mewing began. That’s when I realized: our windows were wide open. Great. Now the neighbor will know for SURE that I’m a looney toon. The first bowl brought to me we discovered, the hard way, was NOT deep enough for the mixer after butter bits went flying about the room, to the delite of my children. I quickly demanded a bigger bowl, which my husband got for me in hopes of keeping the men with the hug yourself jackets at bay. While I’m mixing the effing ingredients, I hear a wild commotion behind me. Hissing, and rowling and thudding down the stairs from the loft bedroom into the living room. “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?”, deviating from my word choice of the day. It seems two of our cats were locked in a heated battle, leaving a huge pile of gray fur in it’s wake. Matt went to break them up, while I finished mixing the effing cookies.

“GET ME THE EFFING PAM SPRAY SO I CAN PUT THE EFFING COOKIES ON THE EFFING SHEET!” This took several orders, as the kids seemed bound and determined that mommy get a state mandated vacation in a padded room somewhere. I put the dough onto the cookie sheet. I was hungry. It’d now been hours since the kids and Matt had eaten. “You only need ONE effing cookie, right?” I demanded from Jeremiah. “FINE! ONE effing cookie for the effing judge and then one for each of us. THEN Mommy’s eating the REST of the EFFING COOKIE DOUGH!” Matt was too scared, and too smart, to disagree. He quickly took the effing cookies and put them in the effing oven, while I dug into the effing cookie dough. “I hope they SUCK!” I declared. At one point, I fantasized about a judge having to spend a great deal of time hugging a porcelain throne and vowing NEVER again to assign cooking as a project at school. Then it hit me that if I was eating the effing dough, I’d get sick first and maybe I didn’t want that weight loss plan.

As Matt stood watch over the effing cookies, Jeremiah piped up: “NOW, what about my picture project that’s due tomorrow TOO?” Thankfully, Matt is quick on his feet and removed said child from reach of me in my recliner. He quickly assured Jeremiah that HE would help him with that project. Mommy was DONE!

So, no, I have not won any mommy awards today. I used a naughty word in more abundance then the rest of my 30+ years, all in one day. But every mom has their breaking point. Mine was making effing cookies.


Dear Doctor…..

Dear Doctor….

As I’m sitting here, awake…..worrying about tomorrow’s appointment….I wonder. Do you realize what we go through? For you, it’s another day at work at a demanding, yet high paying job that you are entitled to, due to the importance and schooling involved to be where you are now. For me? It means arranging the schedules of 9 people around one appointment. Finding a sitter for the child who would otherwise be an annoyance to you during our appointment. Making sure our school kids are set for spending some time after school alone at home, so that both parents can come to absorb whatever information you may give us.

Do you know that I will worry about what to wear, and what my child is wearing? Knowing that I will be treated better if I am dressed up, rather then my usual harried housewife apparel. You can try to deny, but I’ve seen it played out time and again. And maybe it’s also to give me some confidence I don’t feel otherwise.

Do you know that I will have to worry about gas to get TO this appointment tomorrow, 45 miles away….90 round trip? That we will arrange our meals and other spending around just getting to see you. And we will get there early, and undoubtably have to wait, as you are the only specialist of this kind in the immediate area and have families travelling much farther then we to see you.

Do you know that we have scores of people praying for our child and the decisions and diagnosis you may be making? Because while this may be run of the mill for you, it has rocked our world. Any diagnosis for any child will do this.

But did you know, that while I appreciate and admire the education and advice you give, this mom will NOT take it alone. Because while you are highly educated, I am the mother of THIS child, and I know him better than you could ever hope. This mom has been to countless appointments like yours and spent weeks at a time, months even, by a bedside in the hospital. I’ve encountered med students, interns, residents, nursing students and somehow survived them all. I’ve learned a lot along the way, the most important being that I am my child’s best advocate. Period. End of discussion.

I want you to know the importance of EACH appointment to EACH family. The worry, tears and prayers shed over them. Take none of them lightly, because that parent and that child are depending on you for answers, for hope, for direction and most importantly for reassurance that you are there to help us along this new path we are taking. Every day is important. Every appointment. Every child.