If I could have a word with you

One of the most vital parts of being a parent is making mistakes. Mistakes are what causes growth and results in lessons and ultimately change. On a daily basis I make mistakes and there are times I lay awake at night reviewing those, and how I made them, why I made them – and how to not make that same mistake again. Quite possibly I am about to give you more credit than deserved, because I am hopeful you lay awake at night and feel some sort of anything for the abandonment of your child. You do feel bad right? Maybe cry when no one is around because you make the same mistake day in and day out. You get angry at yourself for not calling, writing, asking for photographs, or knowing how his day is, right? You do realize the irreparable damage you have caused your child, right?

We have never been introduced, which is difficult, given the lack of involvement you have in your child’s life. I’ve seen you at one baseball game, when you moved back for a month, ten months ago, only to abandon your child, again. Since that time you called at Christmas, and not since. There are times; I desire nothing more than to shake some sense into you, and ask if you realize what you are doing, what you are losing? This is your child, my god! However, I feel as though that would fall upon deaf ears, and a cold heart. I’m not nice like everyone else, I don’t give you credit for being a good friend, or continue to bite my tongue for the sake of graciousness. You are messing up, you are wrong, and lack in any accountability what-so-over. But, my opinion won’t change you, will it?

nerfInstead I want to let you know something’s you don’t know about your child, and his life. Since you left again, he had his first school dance, where he didn’t dance at all, but had a blast. He loves dress shirts and ties, and really wants a three piece suit. He played football, and basketball for the first time. The other day he started baseball; and is showing strength in pitching. At practice the other day, he got hit in the head with a ball; don’t worry though his dad was there. He is terrified of getting hit with the ball by the way. He is having a nerf birthday party, which he is very excited about. There will be a nerf battle, and we ordered this great nerf gun cake, and his friends and family will be there, all of his family but you of course. Do you even know that tomorrow is his birthday? That he is turning nine? Will you even call him? Well, in case you don’t we are taking him to see the Oregon Ducks play a baseball game, he has no idea – and will be ecstatic! He even gets to meet the players, how awesome is that?

See, I may be  just dad’s girlfriend, but I have to wonder if I worry more about this little boy than you do. Sure, I have only been in his life for a year, the shortest amount of anyone but I can tell you this, in a years’ time he already asked me three times, if he can call me mom…because he doesn’t have one.  In fact he is making this board for his room right now, one of those tri-fold poster boards that you use for science projects – you know? Any how, he is putting pictures of his family on it, and he said “I’m going to put my dad and you in the middle and then us kids under that and on both sides.” Doesn’t that break your heart? Where is he putting a picture of you? Or, did the role of mom – not create a picture of you in his mind? That breaks my heart as a parent.  We share a home, a life, and are building a relationship every day, and there are hard days, mainly due to you. But, I don’t give up, and move away because when he moved into this home, he became my child too, and he moved into my heart. When he comes home from school, we help him with his spelling words, his multiplication facts – which he struggles with, and I try to show him I am woman he can trust, that won’t just leave one day. I grew up without a mother, and it something no child should experience.

Yes, he has constants in his life, Grandma, Aunts, and friends that have filled a void since you left fulfilling any piece of the role of mom – but you and I both know – no one can fill that role and void but you. He will always hold out hope that one day you will pull your head from wherever it is stuffed and realize the mistake you are making. Meanwhile, tomorrow I will spend the day with your child, and every time his fathers phone rings, I will hope that you are calling and that you don’t call at the same time. I hope you call because he so desires you to remember him, and what easier day for a parent to remember their child, then the day they were born. And, a part of me hopes you don’t call because in a sense it is easier for him to not be reminded that you exist, and get hopeful you’ll call again, or maybe come for a visit – only to be left sitting on the curb – with a broken heart.

He is a sweet boy, damn it! So naive in this world still; he is funny, extremely goofy and wants nothing more than to please. While snuggling with his dad last night, his dad said “You are almost too big to snuggle” and your child responded with, “I still fit in your lap” which was true. How long has it been, since he sat in yours? You never realize what you have until it’s gone, and you are losing a connection with your son.  You already lost a wonderful man, a giving man, a man who selflessly busts his ass to provide for your son, without the help emotionally, financially, morally or otherwise from you. He nurses the scrapes, attends every practice, every game, school conferences, plans birthday parties, etc…because he takes his role as a parent, seriously. When are you going to? Because, honestly every day you don’t, is a day you will regret down the road – and when your child is grown that void, will fill with questions of self-worth for himself and distaste for the woman who gave birth to him.

KIDS…down right hilarious!

eathen heartEathen, age 7

Some of the best parts about being a parent is witnessing the honesty, the innocence and the down right hilarious statements that come from our children’s mouths. They often happen in times that may leave us a tad embarrassed, or in moments when we as parents really needed to laugh…or at quiet moments when they are just sharing their day.

We get so busy in our days of working, shuttling kids back and forth, and the normal craziness of day to day life, that we don’t always realize how much these little sponges soak things up, even from us. My grandfather always knew when I, or my brothers were eavesdropping and he would say ” little ears have BIG mouths” and boy was he right! And, what comes out of those mouths can be great stories all of their own. Take the picture above for instance, in response to receiving a valentine from Eathen, who is seven, the little girl sends a thank you along with ” I don’t love you. Love, Stella.” Priceless.

We often take for granted small minds, and what those may contain. A friend of mine caught her sons Cooper 5, and Logan 4, saying butt hole, and told them very sternly that it was no longer allowed to be said. They understood, and then she overheard them say “butt circle” instead! In all fairness, she didn’t say they couldn’t modify the name or shape.

The first time I let my daughter sit on my lap, and help me drive from the mailbox to the driveway she was about two. I am still in shock by what happened that day. She messed with the rear-view mirror, then blurted “Um hello, drive or get out of the way” while waving her hand and bobbing her head. And, where did she learn that? Me. I knew I was in trouble that day, but it did make me laugh…hopefully the rest of these will make you laugh too.

Coleton, age 8:
Me: “Why don’t you want to go to the football camp?”
Coleton: “I can’t run, I have liver problems.”
Us: How do you know it’s a liver problem?
Coleton: Points to his chest and says “It hurts here”
Us: “That is not your liver”
Coleton: “Well, I don’t know I am not a body-i-ologist”

Gracie, age 11:
Driving through the BestBuy parking lot, I see a man entering the store wearing pajama pants, and slippers and make notice of it to Gracie who promptly says: “He best buy himself some new clothes!”

Ethan, age 3
Me: “Honey you can call me whatever you want. Jess, Mom, whatever”
Ethan: “Anything?”
Me: “Yes, anything”
Ethan: “Sweet, I will call you Five Finger Death Punch – I love them!”

Sophia, age 2:
When asked by her mom “what does mommy say” and she would respond, “I love you”When asked “what does daddy say?” she would respond “what the hell?”

Gage, age 6:
Upon finding Gage’s fish dead, we break the news to him gently and he looks at the hard bloated obviously dead fish and says “No, he is just shy like me, he’s fine!!!”

Tia, age 5:
While eating dinner she loudly proclaimed, “God talks to me when I’m drinking”. When asked what God says to her when she’s drinking, she responded, “I don’t know, He’s speaking in Spanish!”

3 or 4 year old boy:
While working at a daycare, the worker overheard a little boy who kept saying a certain four letter F word, and when they pulled him aside and asked him why he kept saying it, he responded with “my dad keeps saying it, its tax time.” His dad was a tax accountant.

Gage, age 8:
On a family trip to Six Flags Gage says from the backseat:
“Since we are in California does that mean there are a lot of Cows?”
He thought it was “Cowafornia”

Gracie, age 10:
“Mom if the dishes taste soapy, it wouldn’t be because we were out of dishwasher detergent and I used your shampoo! But, hey, at least they smell like coconut! And, yes the kitchen filled up with bubbles too.”

Wyatt, age 4:
From Mom (Christina): My son would sit on my lap and when he got up he would always jab his elbow in my boob and I would say ouch my boob! He called his elbow his boob all the way into kindergarten. If he would scrape his elbow when he was young, he would ask me to kiss his boob!

Gage, age 7:
Me: “Are you getting sick honey?”
Gage: “No, its just my voice changing!”

Gracie, age 9:
Gracie: “Mom, I can’t watch the Justin Bieber movie before bed, because its too sad.”
Me: “What is sad?”
Gracie: “Mom, he loses his voice and can’t sing for a week, it was horrible!!!!”

What about you, what are some humorous things your children have said?

Mommy I don’t feel so good…

The pitter pat of footsteps are every mothers joy, the thought of cuddles, squishy kisses and a squeaky sounding, eye-rubbing foggy good morning. Unless of course the pitter pat is a pitter pound which we all hear from across the house – while a child is making a hard dash to the closest toilet…to get sick. Mass confusion, bare feet calculating every step to miss any possible spots that didn’t make it to the toilet, telling our child it is going to be okay, while internally telling ourselves to not throw up as well. Rubbing their backs, holding their hair, running for water, a towel, pony tail holder (for them and us), all still while walking on our tippy toes.

Our house got slammed by the every giving flu bug and its counterparts this year. First the oldest of two boys, who missed the toilet, but managed to the get the walls, my daughters bedroom door (which was closed thank god), the hallway, the bathroom door and the bathroom floor. Luckily his father and I were a team, because let me tell you – it was horrible. Poor kid threw up the one time, and bounced back the next day like nothing, while my stomach was still turning as if it was the gravitron ride from the local fair.

Then two nights later it hits again, only this time its my daughter. She ever so sweetly climbs in my bed and whispers “Mommy I don’t feel very good” which is met by my over zealous attempt at setting a new record at the high jump as I catapult over her, running to the kitchen grabbing the biggest bowl, and a mad dash back in case – in the next minute she decides to reek havoc anywhere near my bed. Once, I’ve returned and all is still in tact, I get her tucked in beside me, a bowl firmly placed beside her and we sleep for an hour. Then were both up and running to the toilet, her long beautiful blond hair in my hand – and we just have to sit there and let this yucky bug take over for three or so minutes, and then a rinse of the mouth, sip of gatorade, and back to bed for about an hour, only to repeat four or five more times. Then as the morning comes, she is back to life of the living, and I’ve reprised my role in night of the living dead, and the previous nights gravitron stomach twirling.

Mom’s handle sickness differently than anyone out there, we keep moving, we don’t have the luxury of staying in bed most often. The kids still have to eat, still need to be taken care of to a certain extent – so although on the inside we feel like death warmed over, we keep going. Which often can makes us look like we’re not really sick, and still capable of well…cooking dinner, cleaning the house…being normal. However, when the sickness has made its way fully through the house (youngest son spared) and to the “I never get sick” man of the house…watch out. The flu bug or its counterpart morphs into a sickness I like to call “manchild disease” and for all intensive purposes the world ends. Literally, it implodes, and for three days this previously capable and strong man – revisits his toddler days where all he can do is sleep, whine and eat.

Truth is, vomit is disgusting, down right undeniably the worse, it’s the worse to do, to see be done, to hear, to smell…oh my dear heavens it is horrible! So, today I am thankful its packed its bag and moved on. From our house to yours, stay tuned to whatever is around the corner.

And I created that..well half anyhow.

Laying in our overstuffed chair with my now almost eight year old son, and ten year old daughter – my mind wanders. How did they grow so tall, their legs so long, their fingers and hands so big. It seems like just yesterday, there were still protected within my belly – and now their live, loud, funny and smart people. When you hear people say “don’t blink – they’ll be grown before you know” I should have listened.

Pregnancy for me was incredible. The feeling of them moving inside of me, or getting hiccups – every little kick, drag or roll, excited me to no end. Hearing their heartbeats, planning their names, their lives – imagining who and what they would be, consumed my every waking breath. Worrying clouded by dreams at night as well. What if they are missing a finger, or are born with an incurable illness, what if they are ugly?? Yes, I worried about that – you are not normal if you never worried that your kid might be the ugly kid. Yes, we would love them anyhow, and tell they were perfect and beautiful either way – but I still worried.

Truth is, my children are beautiful, so beautiful that if I hadn’t know for a fact, and attended their own birth witnessing them come out of me – I might wonder who they came from. Their eyes are green with specs in them that I believe are awesome sprinkles. Their skin tone is one many purchase in a tanning salon – or spend countless hours baking in the sun to attempt achieving. My daughter has long golden, soft, blonde hair that drops past the middle of her back – effortlessly. My son, carries a smile that aids in avoiding or lessening punishments when he rarely misbehaves.

brosis2

If you are like me, you may not have planned your pregnancy to one or possibly all your children. My daughter was planned, and my son was a blessing. With Gracie – I soaked in everything, especially once I found out she was a girl! It was all over then! Everything was PINK, girly, sparkly and frilly! She was born gorgeous, truly perfect and pink. Never in my life, have I ever felt the love you feel as you hold your child for the first time – the bond, and promise to never lose sight of what is most important.

momandgrace

My son, he was a different story – I found out I was pregnant with him during a hard time in my life. My husband and I were divorcing and I was in a constant state of disbelief, hurt and anger. Many times I secretly hated that I was pregnant, and questioned how I would be able to do this alone? What would people think – Who would ever love me? When I found it he was a boy, I cried and was angry more – all I knew was girls..what am I going to do with a boy? They are loud, dirty, obnoxious and unruly – what in the hell was God thinking giving me a boy to raise on my own? My delivery with him was difficult, and he had a small pallet so when he cried, he snorted – something now I wish I would have enjoyed a little more. He had a small face, and a protruding chin – he was a boy. He also became my world.

gageandmom

It feels almost impossible to express a mothers love for her children. With Gracie, I never thought I could love anyone as much – until Gage came to me. God was smart, knowing exactly what was given to me – one of the greatest blessings a mom could hope for… a Son. My daughter is witty, spunky, too smart for her own good, beautiful beyond measure and can make me laugh when I need it most. BUT, my son, Gage – he has the heart of an angel, his eyes can tell me he loves me, misses me, needs me, is hurting, anything without him uttering one word. His hugs don’t just wrap around me, they envelope my soul. His smile – makes me regret every day I questioned why he was being gifted to me – and makes me wish I had enjoyed him longer when we were still one.

Still, I spend moments of where I just gaze at them both and thank God they are mine. It’s hard to verbalize the pride I feel when I watch them succeed at something, or do something kind for another – or at times just how they breath. Questioning myself under my breath..I made this? Me – the most imperfect person, who has made mistake after mistake – how do I deserve such miraculously perfect children to call me mom – everyday? It’s enough to bring tears to my eyes now as I write this, and on many occasions past, present and future.

The point of this blog is for those mothers pregnant – maybe scared, worried, alone. Soak this all in, every Dr’s appt, every heartbeat, every uncomfortable elbow in your side, braxton hicks or even the fiftieth trip to the bathroom. If you lay in bed alone – remember you aren’t alone – you are becoming a mother, you are the beginning of the most important person you will ever be. Nothing will ever surpass being a mom – no love will ever touch it, and no person will ever love you back they way a child does.

Life is hard, and things don’t go as planned – and when you think you have it all figured out; you’ll find out that’s not always the case. However, one thing is planned and perfectly meant for you – and that is the child your carrying both in your belly and in your heart. Enjoy them, enjoy this moment – because you never have this again.  You will wake up one day with a boy who is eight and a girl who is ten on your lap – and although they won’t be tiny – you will realize you still have the whole world at your fingertips and close to your heart.

broandsis

Am I a product of Reverse Psychology?

Is it possible I get nothing from my family but reverse psychology? Is it possible that every lesson I have learned in how to be who I am — was solely by watching them be who they should not have been?

confused

Do you ever feel as if you do not have a place, a place of origin, a true place to call home, an explanation to the whys and who’s of what made the person you have become? That is me.

At my son’s baseball try-outs he was incredible, he is naturally athletic – and I thought to myself, I wonder where he gets that? My last name is James, but I know nothing of my origin. How can that be possible, for a name, a history – the ins and outs of who I am – to mean nothing? I guess that is something I am still figuring out.

My kids, they know where they come from – who they get certain things from, or who they learn it from. My son is built just as I was as a child. My daughter is built like her father, she is beautiful – not just the beautiful that every mother says, but the truly takes your breath away beautiful. My son gets his sensitivity from me, and my daughter gets her attitude from me. They both are direct results of the people around them.

There are some key aspects I give credit to my grandparents for teaching me – the old school values like, Sundays are family days, Church, family dinner at the table every night, praying before every meal, never invite yourself, or eat in front of someone, don’t call a house during dinner time — all things our fast paced society could care less about anymore. However, who I am, whose nose I have, or laugh I have, I couldn’t tell you.

What I know about myself is how I feel about things, what makes me who I am, my reactions, my instincts, my abilities and strengths — those are mine, built by me, and God. Do I know where my insecurities come from? Absolutely! But, could I tell you where I get my writing abilities from, or my love for Literature? No. Do I know why I love my children more than life itself, and I will make sure they know they can do anything they want, and they are important, intelligent, and loved? Yes — But, do I know who I get that from? No.

What I learned from my parents was that for my mother, drugs, alcohol and random men – were more important than me. And, from my Father, was that the wind blowing through my hair on the way to bus stop was not okay and made me appear beautiful – therefore it was chopped off like my brothers. My father said I talked too much, so sent me to school with an entire roll of duck tape on my mouth. Apparently, I get nothing from him, because I would NEVER do that to my children.

Do you see what I have to work with here? My father has since passed and I find myself internally giving him some slack due to some medical issues and what-not, however I just don’t think I can ever bring myself to ever like that man – or see that I am anything like him.

What perplexes me is that I believe God gives us our parents for a reason, and so far I am missing what good it has done for me to have such shitty parents. It has done wonders for my children, which I guess is for me, I don’t know. Don’t get  me wrong, God has blessed me in many ways, and if the only blessings I have from here on out are my children I am perfectly content with that. But, I would sure love to know, for it to all make sense, as to why I have no place to call home — before the home I built with my children.

Excuse me, do I know you?

Its incredible how the mind and heart can build up a moment before its about to happen. Its as if a protective shield starts to encase you, or reminders of what to say or not say, how to act, or not to act run wild in your brain. This didn’t happen with me, maybe I was too numb to feel it. 

Climbing into the car my brother said “Moms waiting for us, she called while you were in the bank”. Swallowing hard, I responded with “Us? does she know I am here?” and he replied with yes, she is waiting to see us. Driving to where she lived, I was terrified – questions about where she lived, her lifestyle, what kind of people would be there, could I get shot?? These were all the crazy things running through my mind. The neighborhood where we were, was less than favorable, and not knowing which color clothes I should be wearing to ensure my safety – scared the shit our of me, I am not even going to try and lie and say other words.

You have to remember, I do not know this woman. What I know of her, is her name, and that I stopped seeing her after I was four following my parents divorce. In the following twenty-nine years, I have seen her maybe four times and the last one was fifteen years ago. So, this car ride – this visit was a BIG deal and ended up being a BIG nothing.

The only picture I have of my mother and IPulling up to a rundown house, with about three different trailers, weeds, and piles of junk everywhere, out walked a woman about 5’9, with a purplish-pinkish-redish type color of short curly hair, wearing a mans flannel, dated jeans and slippers. Her face was swollen due to having Graves disease, something I learned that day, and her over all appearance was that she had obviously had a hard life. She walked up and hugged me, a hug that I am sure I dreamed of for years, a hug that now felt uncomfortable and empty.

Walking us into her backyard, she sat in a chair while my brother and I shared a porch swing. Swinging back and forth, I talked with my brother, but was finding difficulty in what to say to her, or even to look at her, because part of me wanted to study this woman. You know – like look at the details of her face, her eyes, her hands, were they mine? Listening to the way she talked, she sounded the same, her laugh was the same although it wasn’t mine. Nothing about her was me, and nothing about me is her – it was an odd feeling. It was as if, I was meeting  a friends mom for the first time, there was that lack of knowledge between us – no bond at all.

Talking with my brother, she expressed concern over her grandsons moving here to Oregon, and teared up at the thought of not seeing them. She reminisced about my brother and it was obvious they had some sort of a relationship, even though my brother puts forth all the effort. When I would talk, she would study me, I felt her looking me over – maybe doing the same thing I was doing to her – I don’t know. She laughed when I would say something funny, and would talk to me in a round about manner.

When my brother would stop talking, it was quiet. When he left to pee behind a tree, it was silent until his return. This woman and I were strangers. There wasn’t anything we shared the same, except our blood, and for me that is not enough. I suppose I could have thanked her for giving birth to me, but I didn’t.

She didn’t ask how I was, or what I did for a living, or anything for that matter. She didn’t ask about my children, her grandchildren at all – it was if they didn’t exist. In a sense, I guess to her they don’t – she has never met any of them and most likely never will. Sitting there within arms reach of her, part of me want to scream at her – shake her even, anything to make her wake up. Questions that I had like, do you not love me, do you not care about me,  or getting to know your grandchildren, does nothing exist beyond drugs, pool tables and the men in your life? Release my anger of the years of being let down, not important enough, of growing up without a mother – but looking at her – I realized something bigger. That didn’t matter anymore.

Growing up I always held out hope that my mom would come riding in on whatever moms ride in on, and play with my hair, talk to me about boys, teach me about the birds and the bees, to tell me I was beautiful or smart just once – just once I wanted to hear that from her. But, today that hope didn’t exist. Being angry with her would do no good, and hating her was pointless. I don’t hate her, in fact I honestly don’t feel anything for her oddly enough. Obviously, I am affected by the visit enough to write about it – but not out of heartache – more out of self-discovery.

She gave birth to me, but I am not her. My children are my world, their days, new skills, sports, hobbies, snuggling with them, the pride that fills me when they do anything they are excited about, that’s me. Being their mother is a privilege, and one I take seriously and with the highest regard. My daughter is me, her attitude, her humor and smart ass remarks. My son’s kind heart, his shy personality, his need to be loved and snuggled, that’s me. None of that is her, and I am far more blessed because of it.

I’m not going to say that the visit didn’t hurt somewhere inside of me, and maybe it won’t hit me till she dies or something tragic happens, I don’t know. What I can say though, is that I must have known the visit would go this way, because I had no expectations, I didn’t daydream up the possibilities of what may or may not happen. Which is not me, I over-think, and over-worry about anything – but for some thankful reason, I did not with her. If you don’t want to be let down, lower your expectations, I read that somewhere and it is true – it works.

Finishing up our twenty-five minute visit, she walked us out to my car, something of which she doesn’t have. She hugged my brother, and although I tried to avoid it, she hugged me. She kissed me on my cheek, and with her voice cracking she told me she loved me, without thinking I said it back – shocked at myself, and feeling like a fraud. Those words meant nothing to me, and towards her they were just an automated response, and nothing more. She teared up, and I got in the car with her standing there looking at us, I never looked at her again, just backed out of the driveway and out of her life.

Its natural I suppose to wonder what she was thinking of in that moment, what exactly it was she was crying about – Could it be that she had every opportunity to get to know me, and chose not to? Or, that she knew that she would never see me again? Who knows maybe she was crying because my brother was leaving – either way it doesn’t matter.

Driving away from her home made me love my children and my husband more. An overwhelming feeling of being blessed with our life came over me – truth is it doesn’t matter where I came from or whether they loved me or wanted me even – because today I am loved, today I am wanted and today I have broken the cycle my parents created.

Getting home that night, it was close to midnight, I had promised the kids I would come in to kiss them goodnight. My daughter laid in her bed with her beautiful long blond hair strewn on her pillow, eyes closed and sleeping peacefully. Kissing her cheek, part of me wanted to swoop her up in my arms and tell her a million times over that I loved her, was proud of her and that she is so beautiful and smart. Instead, I just turned out her light and moved on to the boys room. My oldest son slept among toys, I swear he can sleep on anything – he sat up in his sleep and gave me a hug, I removed the toys and covered him up with a blanket. The youngest was laying there with a big smile, sat up and was extra excited to see me, giving me hugs and kisses and telling me he missed me. Tucking them both in, I walked back to my room, where my husband was half asleep on my side of the bed, trying to wait up for me, and happy I was now home, so he could sleep. Crawling into to bed, I realized if I never did anything more in my life than just being a mom and a wife, then I had already made it big!

What matters to you most?

See you next blog ~ Jess