Tag Archive | mommy life

The Talk

Wife. Mother. Author. Seeker of the Extraordinary.

I adore being a mom.

I was never even sure that I wanted that honor but when those boys came into my life, so much finally made sense. The missing pieces came together and I was complete.

They gave me purpose.

They also taught me the value of laughter and forgiveness. I’ve learned to laugh at myself which I’ve always struggled to do and I’ve learned to forgive myself too.

With boys, nothing is sacred and the fact that they find humor in anything, has been good for my soul. They also forgive fast and love hard and they’ve given me far more than they can imagine.

Before them, my serious nature prevented me from seeing opportunities for joy but because of them, I seek it out every day. I’ve learned to laugh at the ridiculous and inappropriate and I’m so thankful for everything they’ve taught and continue to teach me.

How could you not smile at the cuteness? Throwback 2011

But, being a mom has always carried so much responsibility and as they grow older, I’ll admit that I’m freaking out. I see the window of our daily time together quickly closing and I don’t know if I’ve taught or given them enough. There are still years left but it’s going fast.

Recently, I told my youngest that we were going to have The Talk which unexpectedly weirded him out. Inquisitive by nature, I didn’t anticipate how icked out he would be about our conversation. He insisted his older brother be there for “support”, so we had it where we have many of our important talks.

In the car.

Driving home from sports.

When I had the talk with the oldest son a couple of years ago, we were in the grocery store. I vividly remember walking through the freezer section and telling him that STDs can make it burn when you pee and a few other gross details.

He responded with the appropriate amount of disgust, then I had him hand me a box of Uncrustables and asked him if he wanted any frozen waffles.

It was an easy, albeit awkward, conversation and afterwards I realized it wasn’t as embarrassing as I thought it would be. Nothing exploded and a veil of knowledge wasn’t lifted, instantly changing him from a boy to a man. He was still my kid, with a little more knowledge and hopefully enough fear to keep him safe.

But with the youngest son, I expected questions.

So many questions.

He usually has questions for his questions and then even more after that!

We’ve always indulged his curious nature expecting that it will be serve him well in the future. We’ve covered too many topics to count but this one made him squirrelly and he didn’t attempt to disguise it.

His older brother’s presence did give him comfort which made my heart so happy. When I dove into the talk I asked what he already knew, which were the basics. Then we had an open conversation about sex, STDs, babies, condoms, the sacredness of sex, and the peer pressure that they’ll face. I used clinical words which he didn’t like and I talked to him like sex is the most natural thing in the world, because it is.

Even though neither son wanted to talk about it with me, I told them it was better than talking to their dumb friends who wouldn’t know any more than they do. I don’t know if they believed me but since I had a captive audience, I just went with it.

I’d always imagined that the conversation might result in one of us rocking back and forth in a corner but I was relieved when it was over, because it was truly very unspectacular. Just like when I had the talk with his brother.

It took about ten minutes to cover the important points and then I reminded them both that I’m always there, for everything and anything. Good, bad, ugly, and uncomfortable; that’s what a mom is for.

At least, that’s what I plan to be there for.

Even though they didn’t want to have these conversations they were necessary and important and I think they understood that.

While they may think they know enough, they’ve never considered the shame of an STD, or a broken condom, or raising a baby as a teen parent, They don’t know that when their friends start having sex it’s okay for them not to, or that kissing doesn’t have to end in intimacy, or that “no” means no. We didn’t dwell long on the actual act because experience is the best teacher and they understand enough. But we did talk about everything else that they don’t teach you in sex education.

The things you only learn from screwing up life or from someone older who will tell you all the ways you don’t want to mess up. I hope that at least some of what we talked about will sink in.

Especially, how crucial it is to choose wisely, even when hormones are telling you otherwise. Even more importantly, sex isn’t random, it’s meaningful.

It’s important.

And it can be life-changing.

In a culture where hooking up is the norm and girls move just as fast as boys, I don’t know how else they’ll learn these things if they don’t learn them from us.

The parents.

There will be more in-depth conversations about when girls say No, and the importance of respecting women and yourself. There will be follow-up conversations about falling in love and heartbreak, but I think these conversations are ongoing and not necessarily wrapped up in one event.

While being a mom has given me so much, it’s also taught me the importance of preparing them to live in a world where choosing well is the most important thing, and relationships between men and women are complicated at best.

I’ll admit I was nervous about having The Talk with both of them. While my husband certainly could’ve done it, I chose to because I wanted them to feel comfortable talking to a woman about something so personal, even if it was their gross mom.

There will be many important conversations in our future and I feel fortunate to get to have them. Being a mom of boys has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I can’t imagine having these talks with anyone else.

No matter how uncomfortable it can be, it’s always worth it.

Always.

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Orphan

I recently became an orphan for the second time in my life.

My mom passed away nearly two months ago, my father in 2014, and my first set of parents were lost to me for reasons I have no memory of. Compared to most my age, they are gone far too early.

It’s strange to lose that thread; that intimate connection to your early life. Even though I didn’t come to them until I was about three, they were all I’d ever known.

While I should’ve anticipated the losses, they were unexpected. I learned a long time ago to always brace for the unknown, but I had forgotten, lulled by a false sense of security that she was never going to die. And when she did, I wasn’t ready.

(But seriously, how can you ever be truly ready to lose someone you love? No matter how plagued with health issues or illness, can you ever come to terms with letting go? I don’t think so.)

So I’ve had the unsavory task of going through her house and belongings. Deciding what to keep and what to give away, what to sell, what to discard has left me feeling dirty. Even though there’s no other choice it feels invasive and wrong to go through every space of someone else’s entire life.

Although I didn’t find anything earth-shattering or life-changing, I did find a lot of photos of people I didn’t recognize and knick-knacks I didn’t know the story behind. I found stripes to my dad’s navy uniform and their wedding rings that had gone unworn for many years (I’m wearing them now) and other small treasures long-forgotten, but remembered from my childhood.

I was shocked to find so many of her precious memories haphazardly left behind in tattered old cardboard boxes without any rhyme or reason. There were faded, worn, photo albums but many pictures lay In boxes without labels, tags, left unloved and untouched for many years.

As much as I would like to say that I was surprised, that was who she was. Preserving memories and protecting the past was not in her DNA. It was one of the things that frustrated me about her the most. As much as I loved her, our relationship was complicated and often messy. The cardboard boxes full of haphazard memories upset me more than I expected.

I realize that relationships between mothers and daughters are often sloppy and complicated. Especially in recent years, we often struggled to find a common ground and our stubbornness often got in the way.

So as most writers do, I put our relationship on paper. I write about that strange relationship between mothers and daughters because that’s all I’ve ever known. There have been many good memories, as well as many sad ones. The bad ones inspire stories and in those stories I’ve been able to exorcise Demons and quiet nightmares. Like me, my characters face mothers who didn’t always preserve and protect their past.

I never realized it until I became a mother, a fierce protector of my own children, that I needed to purge the anger and resentment that I had toward the mother who buried her previous memories in damp, unkept cardboard boxes.

Complicated and messay.

But I did love her very much and always will, the good memories, also weaving their way through my stories. Her memory always with me. As much as I’ve learned about what not to do, there were things she was great at that I need to do better. She taught me that none of us are perfect.

So, I will continue to sift through her belongings, sort though pictures of people I don’t recognize and blindly give away things that may or may not have been important to her. And as I do so, the only thing I will hold onto is the knowledge that no matter what, she loved me.

And no matter what, perfect or imperfect, I still loved her.

Busy Little Author

I’ve been a busy little bee lately  in my personal life, professional life, and author life. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been crazy busy, but it’s how I like it.

It drives my husband nuts because I can’t even sit still to watch television which has been that way most of my adult life. My mind is always racing with a thousand things to do, which makes it increasingly difficult to settle down. I usually move from one thing to the next, until I fall into bed exhausted.

As the boys get ready to go back to school, the shopping is done, and the summer is winding down, I am excited to get to focus on some of the author life things that have been neglected. Summers are an impossible time to finish and edit books, work on projects, and even focus on any marketing. I’ve decided that I’ll try and take at least one weekday this year, to try and focus on my author life because the buzz of too many unfinished things is enough to make feel stabby.

I also find that not having time to write also makes me extremely cranky, as well. When I’m writing, I am at peace and I need the time in my head to cope with the outside world, at times.

I have been able to finish a couple of things recently. I rewrote and added some chapters to The Forgotten, my fantasy series about how the selfish actions of one creature creates a world where the children have been abandoned and forgotten. It’s the first book in The Lost Children series. I loved the story about Jakob and Kell, but felt that it needed to be more robust and added some backstory to make it more interesting. This story is near and dear to my hear because the main characters were inspired by my boys and many of the children bear names of children I know. The next step for the Lost Children is to publish it in paperback.

I’m also in process of editing the third book in my women’s fiction series, Saving Eva. I’ve been hesitant as I finish it, afraid of disappointing fans of the series, but early beta readers love it. I do know that I’ll be adding a surprise ending to it, so you’ll have to stay tuned for that. (Sorry Elizabeth and Heather)

The first book in the series, Leaving Eva, has been reworked and is ready to be rerelease with Evatopia with a beautiful new cover. Eva’s powerful and emotional story will be available to new readers and will have the potential to reach a broad new audience, which is incredibly exciting!

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I’m also working on a super-secret project that I’ll reveal soon. It’s something that I’m terrified of writing, but I’m doing it for that very reason.

 

I’ll be sending out more information about my super-secret project in my newsletter, so if you’d like to know about it, sign up here! I’m only revealing the secret in my newsletter, so you’re not going to want to miss out!

 

30 Day Writing Challenge-Ten Things

Today’s challenge is to share TEN interesting things about myself. I’ll give it a go, but I can’t promise how interesting they’ll be. 😳😳

  1. I’m short but I always think that I’m bigger than what I am. I’m always surprised when I realize how short  I really am, compared to others.
  2. What you see is what you get. I’m honest, open, and truthful, sometimes to a fault. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a filter but it does mean that you always know where you stand with me.
  3. I wanted to be a teacher when I was younger. I love watching people grasp new ideas and concepts, as well as doing so myself. I love to learn and think that constantly challenging your mind is so important. A big part of my job now is teaching others and its extremely rewarding. I don’t think that you’re ever too old to learn something new! 
  4. I’ve worked for the same company for almost seventeen years. I love my job and the people I get to work with. It’s challenging and interesting and every day there is something new. The people I work with are talented, fun, and passionate and I’m very thankful for them and the opportunities I’ve been given.
  5. Music and writing are my therapy. Listening to music and writing keeps me sane and my preference of each depend on how I’m feeling at the moment.
  6. I swear … a lot. I’m a lover of words, even the profane ones. But I do have an excellent filter so it’s okay to leave your little ones near me! 
  7. I LOOOOOVE babies and dogs and they usually love me. Babies turn me into a puddle of mush and sunshine and even though I don’t want anymore of my own, if there was a job holding babies I’d be first in line to apply. 👶🏼☀️
  8. I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl but I’m also a realistic. I expect, anticipate, and hope for the best but I also know when it isn’t going to happen, and then adjust accordingly. People who are negative because they make me stabby because life is too short to always dwell on the bad.
  9. I’ve lost a lot of people in my life at a young age. Two friends gone far too young in car accidents, my grandparents, a life-long friend and family member, and  then my father.  Those losses have bruised me and taught me not to sweat the small stuff. They’ve taught me to enjoy what I have and be happy with the life I’ve been given. Life is too short to expect that it will be anything less than spectacular. 
  10. My worst trait is that I’m impatient but my children have taught me how to be much more patient over the years. They’ve made me a better person in every way and especially in this one.

Despite everything on this list, I’m not Mary Sunshine. I write to keep the demons at bay and I work very hard to not let life consume me. I can be angry, difficult, petulant, and petty. I can be ugly, inside and out, but I know that’s just part of being human. There are times when I just myself go because I know that I’m far from perfect and will try harder the next day. I don’t know how interesting this, was but if you made it to the end, then you know a little more about me! 😊😊😊

Being Perfectly Imperfect 

Recently Author Harper Sloan posted a challenge on Facebook to share pictures of a time when we have felt perfectly imperfect. This challenge came at just the right time when I’m already on a journey to feel better about myself through exercise and eating better. I posted  a picture that was taken six months after having my youngest son, though there are hundreds of pictures I  could’ve could’ve chosen from. I’ve spent years hiding from the camera because I hated how I looked. I was always afraid that I would I look too fat or have a double chin. They are all the pictures I hide from my timeline on Facebook or untagged myself in, with the hope that nobody would recognize me.

The truth is that I’ve felt horribly imperfect my entire life. Even when I was in high school and a size nothing, I still never felt good about myself. As a younger woman in my 20s and in the prime of life, I never saw myself for who I was. Even when I didn’t need to, I went to Weight Watchers because I thought that would help me feel better about myself. It reflected the fact that I wasn’t comfortable in my  own skin even at such a young age.

When I got to my 30s, which were my childbearing years, I felt even worse about myself than ever. Even though my body had created the beauty of life, I was miserable. This is evident in the numerous videos that my husband took when I was running away from the camera, and yelling at him to put it  down. I didn’t want to see myself and what I looked like and I didn’t want it preserved on film, forever. Even in my latter 30s when faced with personal trauma, I lost a lot of weight but even though I wore smaller clothes,  I still couldn’t find happiness with myself or the person that I had become. 

Now that I am deeply rooted in my 40s, for the first time in my life, I feel more comfortable with who I am and what I look like. I’ve decided to come to terms with embracing my imperfections. I know that if I want to be healthier it’s completely my choice. 

Physically, I know that I have a lot of work to do but for the first time it’s more for health reasons then for aesthetics. Vanity has been replaced by necessity, and the necessity is to feel good and be around for my children for a long time. I simply want to be stronger and healthier which is more important than anything else. 
I don’t blame anyone else for my insecurities or make excuses anymore . I don’t fault society,  magazines, movies, or television. I don’t blame anyone although it’s tempting to pass the buck, and blame the generation before, or the world around me. But instead I choose to own it and change it. If I don’t, where will the cycle of insecurity end of it doesn’t end with me? 
As I get older I understand that the best that I can do is to be the best person that can be. I’m short and I’m stocky, built more like a gymnast than a Barbie Doll, but when I was younger I didn’t see that I was built like an athlete. I only saw that I didn’t have a tiny waist and slender shoulders and I only saw the things about myself that I didn’t like, and didn’t see anything that I could like. I’m learning that the key is to be happy with who I am and to look for reasons to love myself. I know there are things about myself that are what they are. There are parts of my body that no matter how much I work out, how little I weigh, or how small my clothes are, that will never change. I will always be built the way that I am  with big calves and broad shoulders and there’s nothing I can do about that.  
But I can be healthy and better toned with lower blood pressure and better cholesterol. I may never be the size I was in high school, but that doesn’t matter now, because I didnt even appreciate it then.

I have a long history of faking self-confidence pretty well. But when someone I once knew saw through it, they asked me why I had such low self-esteem. They told me that I was pretty and had much to be proud of and thankful for but as hard as I tried, I couldn’t answer them. Even now for as many times as I’ve asked myself that very question I still don’t fully know the answer. Maybe it began in childhood or sometime later in life. There were a lot of things I was confident about but deep down I still struggled with myself, daily. I often feel that the mirror we look into reflects so differently for us than it should. We fail to see the beauty within us that others see. Instead  we focus on what we perceive to be our own ugliness because that’s what we choose to see. If we could only embrace what the people who love us see, and envision ourselves in the best possible light, our world would be a far more beautiful and peaceful place.

I’m raising sons and I’m finding the boys have just as many insecurities as girls do. I’m trying to teach them to see the good in themselves especially when they don’t want to.  While I don’t ignore their insecurities we talk about them with acceptance and love, and I try to help them understand that its a part of their beauty and who they are. I’m trying to teach them that there is no such thing as perfection and that we only have the best version of ourselves to live up to.

It has taken me over 40 years to realize this and accept it. While this is not the truth I live with every single day, it is the truth that I strive for. I’ve accepted that I am perfectly imperfect with my wrinkles and extra pounds, my broad shoulders, my not so tiny waist, and my huge calves that won’t fit into every pair of boots. I’m learning to love myself for who I am while still hoping to become the best version of myself that I can be.

Truly that is the best thing that I can ever do and the best gift I can ever give myself or my family. Yet in all of my perfect imperfection, it’s amazing to know that they are completely and fully in love with me. 

Even when I struggle to love myself. 

“The Talk”

“They” say that you need to have “The Talk” with your children at around the age of ten these days!

Um… Eeeeeeek!

I’m pretty sure that I never had anyone give me “The Talk.” My “Talk” consisted of “Don’t do it. Until you’re married. Ever.” And that was is. What I learned about sex as an adolescent was anything that could be read in a Jackie Collins novel or learned in health class . It just wasn’t a topic that was talked about which seems to be the general consensus of most people around my age.

But as my oldest has reached that milestone of double digits, my husband and I are basically playing “rock, scissors, paper” to see who gets to have that conversation. I think he should have it because he’s the man and has the same “equipment” as my son, and he thinks I should have it because… let’s be honest, I’ll handle it better. Truthfully, neither of us want to have it and as two intelligent adults are being pretty squeamish about it. I’m not sure if it’s our own fear, awkwardness, or embarrassment or if it’s just that we want our son to remain young, sweet, and innocent forever. (I’m going with the first one)

We do know that the moment we walk through that door, there’s no turning back. Once he knows about where babies really come from, he’ll never see the world (or us) the same ever again. He may even be horrified at the mere thought of it, which would be quite fine with me.

What I really want to tell him that he’s entirely too young to think about anything other than baseball, Play Station, and sports, and then I don’t want to tell him anything else about it. I still want him to think that girls are “disgusting and stupid” and I want him to wrinkle his nose in disgust when we ask him if he likes any of the girls in school. Quite frankly, I’m not ready for him to grow up and  I don’t want to worry about those things yet.

I know that I don’t JUST want to talk to him about the sex part. I want to talk to him about love and that’s it not simply about touching a girl because he can. I want to tell him that his body is going to do weird stuff in the next couple of years, but “not to worry” and that it’s just part of growing up. Having “The Talk” means that sooner than later, I’ll have to worry about sexting, and porn, and inappropriate behavior. I’ll also have to worry about hormones, moodiness, and his sweet little voice getting deeper. I know  I’ll have to be diligent in identifying skanky little girls who want to move too fast, and be prepared to terrorize them when necessary, which I’ve been dreaming about ever since my boys were born (insert evil laugh here).

Even though it’s right around the corner I’m not ready for acne, and attitude, and being questioned about my level of intelligence by the child that I created in my own body. I’m just not ready and I’m so frustrated about it because ten years has just gone entirely too fast! It snuck up on me and I wasn’t expecting it to happen this soon.

Dang it!

I can’t consider having this conversation with him until I accept that he’s growing up, and have I already said that I’m just not ready? Does it sound like I’m throwing a temper tantrum? Because I am! I’m too emotionally attached and even though I still have another eight years to go until high school graduation. I’m so disturbed that we are well past the midway point with him and that the youngest son is following closely behind.

I feel as though by the time I truly get to know them and understand them, they’ll be off to college starting a whole new world, becoming something else entirely. Then the person I’ve been for the past ten years is going to be hopelessly lost and yes, I’m already lamenting about having Empty Nest Syndrome with nearly a decade left. But look at how rapidly this decade has flown by!

I know… I know… I’m making having “The Talk” all about me when it’s clearly not, or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s really about preparing my kiddo for the next phase in his life and it’s not his fault that his mom is a wimp.

What everything boils down to, is, that I’m just not ready to have “the talk” even though I’ve been giving myself pep talks for months. I thought I would be ready by the end of the summer and that I could do it before school starts, but school starts in two weeks and I haven’t worked up enough courage yet, but I’m working on it.

Being a parent means that you have to be brave… so I’m going to stop whining, pull up my big girl pants, and look for opportunities to start teaching my kiddos about the things that make me incredibly uncomfortable. Chances are, we’ll all be uncomfortable, but at least I’ll have done my job and hopefully my child will be benefit. He’s ten for goodness sake and just told us that he only weighs fifteen pounds when he’s sitting on the toilet, because little boys do silly things like that. He doesn’t take himself too seriously yet so neither will I. I’ll explain things to him like he’s ten and not twenty, and let him know that we’re here for questions and concerns. So hopefully when he starts morphing and his body becomes one big uncontrollable hormone, at least he’ll know that the lines of communication are open.

And by then, hopefully I’ll be over my tantrum and well over myself so I can be the adult parent that I’m supposed to be guiding my children and preparing them to understand themselves and make good decisions about their sexuality and their lives, no matter how freaked out it makes me.  For now I’ll just relax, and try to figure out how a ten year-old will understand  “the Birds & the Bees.”

I probably just need to have faith that I’ve done a pretty good job of explaining life to them this far and I’ll probably do this part just fine too. 😉