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Twenty-Seven

I turned twenty-seven on Saturday morning.

At 8:10 A.M. Saturday morning if you want to be über specific like my mom.  But it’s cool if you’re more into generalities.  I feel ya.

Anyway.  I’m twenty-seven now.  I feel no different than I did the year before or the year before that.  In fact, I feel better than I did after my twentieth birthday (hello, hangover!).  Now that I’m a responsible absent-minded mother of two, I have no time to properly cultivate a good (?) hangover.  And for that, I am thankful.  I was never good at that scene, anyway.  And for that, I am also thankful.

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I’ve learned a lot in my twenty-seven years on the planet.  I’m a little embarrassed sometimes at what I don’t know.  But, in a quote paraphrased from the humble-yet-wise Socrates, “The wise man knows that he knows nothing,”  I must be freaking brilliant because there are days I don’t even know where my own head is.  Sometimes, I feel like I know too much.  Y’all know what I mean.  Those little moments that spring up and you wish to God that he’d not forgotten to install the memory erase button?  Yeah.  We’ve all been there.  All too often.

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So here’s a list of things I’ve learned during my time on the planet.  Some are pretty obvious.  Some may be familiar to your own learning experience.  Some, admittedly, are kind of dumb.  You’ve been warned.

  1. No amount of fibbing, wishing, or praying can take back or erase a text message.  ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU’RE TEXTING/IM’ing?/EMAILING THE RIGHT PERSON.  Take it from me and foot-in-mouth disease.
  2. Baby pictures always seem to come up in doubles and triples.  You burned the album of baby bath pictures?  Congratulations.  Keep looking, though.  ‘Cause your mom’s probably got two other identical albums stashed away for such purposes.
  3. You will get used to being puked, pee’d, and pooped on by your children.  No matter how old they are.  Other people’s kids… and other people?  You will still probably get queasy at the least and/or prepare for a body fluid domino effect at the worst.  Luckily, I seem to have inherited an iron gut.  Thank you, sweet baby Jesus.
  4. Anytime I hear, “MOM!” I turn around.  It’s a reflex.  I don’t care whose kid he or she is… I will turn around.  And I’ll probably answer.  Crying babies = ditto.  It’s a curse, I tell you.  I even hear it in my sleep.
  5. Road rage gets worse with age.  Add children to the mix, and it’s a homicidal breakdown waiting to happen.  Unless you’re super into finding “inner peace”.  In which case, you suck.  And you’re probably the reason my road rage is the way it is.
  6. I always thought that (road rage aside) I would be pretty reasonable growing up.  I mean, don’t get me wrong.  I’m a woman and my mood has a hormone switch that goes from 0-60 in .00001 seconds.  Regardless, I always assumed I could keep my emotions and mouth mostly in check.  Again, enter children.  And if life has taught me anything, it’s that I can bark at my children any time of the day.  And that it’s out of love. . . mostly. But if anyone else barks at my kids?  LAWD HAVE MERCY, JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL… ’cause I’m about to come unhinged on you.  Back it on up, honey.  Back it on up.
  7. Groceries are mad expensive.  If groceries keep going on up, we ain’t movin’ on up to the east side.  I never thought that being an adult would be so costly.  I don’t know how I ever thought that, honestly, having grown up with two working parents.  But I got a good taste of it at twenty-one when I had Gabe.  And I’ve been a bit of a money hoarder ever since.  Don’t get any ideas and think you’re going to rob me blind, though.  The government’s doing a good enough job at that by…
  8. …”giving” me shit insurance.  The mythical definition of insurance is: the act, business, or system of insuring life, property, etc against loss or harm.  I’ve learned, though, that the literal definition of insurance is: to rob middle-class Americans blind before retirement so that retirement is only legends heard of as children.  True story.
  9. On topic with groceries: ALWAYS make a list and NEVER go hungry.  And if you have kids and can help it, go after nap time or “butt-crack of dawn” early.  Trust me.
  10. It took me some time, but I figured out that it isn’t the number of friends a person has at any given point.  It’s the quality of the relationships.  In my life, I’ve been blessed with great friendships.  Some have come and gone for a spell, others have stuck it out.  The relationships I have these days are precious to me.  I don’t see these people often and we can’t talk every day due to… well, life.  But I know if ever I need a hand, someone will come running.  And I’m proud to be able to do the same for them.
  11. I’m in the process of learning that sometimes all I need is the support from the hubs and that sometimes all he needs is my support.  Whether it be physical, mental, emotional… even silent… we’re a team.  It’s harder a road than I thought it would be some days, and other days it’s pretty easy to fall in line with.
  12. Marriage is hard in general.  But for us, divorce isn’t an option.  Because what good is holding guilt over someone’s head for 50+ years if everything ends seven years in?  I’m kidding, y’all.  Seriously, though. . . we’ve already experienced some hard-hitting stuff.  And it’s been tough.  And some days it might have been easier to throw in the towel.  But ultimately, he’s my weirdo.  So I guess we’re staying put.
  13. No matter what they tell you, childbirth is the easy part.  Third degree tear?  C-Sections?  Please.  Wait until you’re hiding in the pantry with a pint of Haagen Dazs and a shot of whatever beverage (adult or not) is within arms reach, praying that your kids won’t get up from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and discover your hiding place.  Parenting has it’s good days.  But it definitely has it’s “hide out in the pantry and pray bedtime carries it’s ass” days, as well.  But chillax — that should mean you’re doing it right.
  14. When you’re young, crying and flirting will probably get you out of a ticket.  When you’re a mother, you pray the police have a heart and let you go because, “the baby only sleeps when the car is in motion… and he’s about to blow a gasket.”
  15. The same does not apply to grocery store clerks who could care less that $0.78 a pound is ridiculous for bananas and that you missed the sale for teething biscuits.
  16. High school seems like an eternity.  College finals can be daunting.  Hold on, man.  The end is near.
  17. Family is pretty much an extraordinary thing.  And I’m not just talking biological (see #9).  My kids call my best friends aunt & uncle.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Because having learned about Gabe’s three girlfriends (two at school and one at daycare), I’m ready to call in the troops with our rocking chairs and guns in hand.  Paintball guns, y’all… don’t get your panties in a twist.
  18. A night out with the girls is amazing and just what the doctor ordered.  Whether you’re single, in a relationship, married/divorced with kids… whatever.  A night out with your pals is the ultimate in refreshing.  Guys, same goes for you.  Just keep it clean, ladies and gents.  Social media, you know.
  19. An evening out with the hubs/little lady is even better.  If you have kids, try not to talk about the weird stuff that comes out of their noses or how cute or hilarious it was because it kind of looked like Abraham Lincoln.  Talk about yourselves… or anything else, for that matter.  You only have a few hours to pretend that you’re childless.  Revel in it,
  20. I figured I’d be a “progressive” woman when I was younger.  That I could hang out with guy friends solo and still be in a relationship.  You can’t and, really, you shouldn’t want to risk it.  Not that anything would happen.  And I’m not trading in my independence for an apron and a 1950’s edition of Southern Living Recipes.  But unless Ev can be around, it can’t happen.  Ditto for him.  I’ve learned that things can happen, it’s my job as a spouse to try and keep things from happening.  Accidental or not.
  21. It took me several years, but it hit me a while back that my little brother is one of my best friends.  And why not?  We’ve seen a lot together.  My kids adore him.  He’s pretty cool.  It was one of the best realizations I’ve ever had.
  22. I have learned and relearned that you can’t make people love and respect you.  Those are two things that come naturally and cannot be forced.  It can be learned, absolutely.  And I’d say that a learned love and respect can be the best kind.  But you can’t make it happen.  And when you come to terms with that fact, you can live a more content life than you could imagine.
  23. I said it once recently, but it’s worth a repeat.  When I was younger, I was scared of everything.  I was content to sit idly in the background.  Having little ones changed that in me slowly but surely.  If you ever have the opportunity to have little ones and give up some pretty sacred pieces of yourself, do it.  It’s amazing.  Even on the Haagen Dazs days.
  24. Unless you’re born into money or have the power to summon wild wealth on a whim, new business ventures are scary.  But once you see things taking form and going forward, it’s a pretty cool experience.  Definitely equal parts cool and risky.
  25. Buying a house is a pain in the ass.  But to get out from under a rent note is a relief.  Moving is also a pain in the ass.  Find reliable friends to help.  Cook for them.  Laugh with them.  Mark boxes FRAGILE.  Drink after all is said and done if necessary.
  26. If you take note of nothing else I’ve mentioned, do yourself a favor and write this down: Remember to laugh.  It’s easy to get down and discouraged sometimes.  Remember to laugh… even if you have to find something to laugh at.
  27. Lastly, the past twenty-seven years has been a roller coaster of up’s, down’s, and twirly loops.  In twenty-seven years, Gabe will be nearing thirty three and Connor twenty-nine.  I’ll be fifty freaking four.  There may be grandchildren… possible retirement.  Who the hell knows.  I’m still learning how to navigate the ride, but I’m ready for the next go around.
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My Three Year OId Thinks He’s Batman

My Three Year OId Thinks He’s Batman

…and I’m totally okay with that.  Notice my title says “three year old.”  Gah, that terrifies the shit out of me.  I mean, it does and it doesn’t, you know?  A lot has changed since my last post in the realm of behavior.  We have a little way to go, but he is definitely making progress.  I’m proud of that little guy, let me tell you.  Even if he is a bit delusional.  And, okay.  That’s partially completely my fault.  I might have told him, “Batman potties,” or, my personal favorite, “Batman doesn’t dance on coffee tables!”  Whatever the case, my child has taken to believing he’s a miniature superhero.  And I’ll take it if it means:

A) there are fewer pull-up changes (those dudes are EXPENSIVE) and
B) there is less of a chance that my child will become the first ever male table dancer.  gahhhhhhhh.

Anywho.  It is what it is.  And if Gabe thinking he’s Batman is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right.  So long as it doesn’t carry over into grade school.  sheesh.

Today on the radio I heard of two women who got into it (what is “it”, anyway? hmm.) over whether shipping your kid(s) off to kindergarten or college is more heart-wrenching.  Coming from someone who has done neither thing as of yet, I can clearly see both sides.  How?  Quite simple.

I speak from the mouth of a mother who is still watching her small one see things for the very first time; even if he has seen them countless times before, his little eyes are attuned to different things all the time.  His perception of the world, from my sight, is both terrifying and jaw-droppingly exquisite all the time.  It is because I see this in my young child that I can see how shipping your kid(s) off — whether it be down the road for a few hours or thousands of miles away, semesters at a time — can truly alter one’s… well, everything.  And it’s different for each and yet breathtakingly similar.

The similar bit (or one of them) is that the self is ever-changing.  Humans are funny in that we evolve constantly, yet we are afraid of our own evolution.  The self is much like a river; it flows and never ceases.  Even the slightest of trickles, the smallest of movements, changes who we are physically.  Our souls, on the other hand, I am convinced are relatively immobile.  These two attributes are strikingly different and they are what make us thrive — even in our unconscious fear.

A mother, especially, a good mother, I should say, lives in an unrecognized fear for her children.  There is a saying that I adore: “No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you.  After all, you’re the only one who knows my heart sounds from the inside.”  I live in an constant state of upheaval for Gabe.  I’m a worrier, by nature, and so this only worsened upon bringing him into the world.  I have not set my little one off on his path just yet — I hardly count day care, although some may.  He has largely been with me, and I dread the day that I see him take that next step.  And yet, even in my unsettled momma-mode, I am so proud that he is able in every way to set off on his own eventually.  Even if it is only to kindergarten.

There are moments in a momma’s life that are different even from that of a daddy.  Fathers are proud of their children, don’t mistake what I mean.  But a momma.  You carry that baby from the time the pee on the stick tests positive until you, yourself, pass on.  Even that means that your baby is no longer a baby.  “Cutting the cord” is far easier said than done.  Of course, you do… it would be cruel to stay shoved up your child’s behind… not letting them experience life — mistakes, joys, quandaries, etc. — for themselves is a shame.  But that doesn’t make it any less hard.  I, myself, have a hard time cutting the cord, etc. where Gabe is concerned.  I remember three years ago as vividly as I can see this screen.  Just holding him tight, terrified.  Terrified that I would fail.  Terrified that I wasn’t the right choice for that little body I held.  Terrified that I would do him harm.  So, yes.  I understand how both scenarios are equally as hard.  From moment to moment… time is fleeting.

One moment, you’re packing off your little one on the school bus, the next they’re peeling out of the drive on to work… school… families.  I understand.  I understand ‘though I’ve not yet lived it.

It hit me like a brick to the face yesterday that Gabe would be three today.  And again when I realized that this time next year he’ll be in pre-k.  So ladies.  Take it easy.  We’re all watching these little lives leave us.  Maybe not as quickly, but somehow… just as.

So today my Gabe is three.  My superhero is growing up and I am so proud…. even when he pees and hollers “MATNAN!” (Batman.  get with it.)

Happy birthday my beautiful boy.  You my are my heartbeat.  Easy now… you’ll give me a heart attack.

The Calvin to my Hobbs

The Calvin to my Hobbs

crazy eyes!

Finally got around to taking Gabe’s birthday pictures last weekend.  Unfortunately, the little butt was in a horrendous mood.  We’ll be trying AGAIN soon… fart.

Don't let that smile fool you. He's baaaaad.
Oddly enough, I love that kid.
There was a puppy. So much for pictures!
So serious!
Here, mom. Let me cram this in your face. Just.. hold.. still...
the calvin to my hobbs.

 

FYI: One of my recommended tags?  “Puppy mills”.  WTF is a puppy mill??

Birthdays, etc.

Birthdays, etc.

My birthday was Monday.  Whoopee.  Actually, it was a nice day and we had an even better weekend.  Last weekend some friends and I went out for my birthday a little early… this past weekend was family time.  We went to Lafayette where I had my camera fixed & whatnot.  On the way home we stopped by Prejean’s for an early birthday dinner.  Gabe, being the food connoisseur that he is, decided on the grilled cheese & french fries.  I bet you didn’t know that you must rub your grilled cheese in your hair to make it taste good.  Gabe, apparently, knew the secret and thus peeled the sandwich apart & rubbed it all in his hair.  He had Velveeta in places Velveeta should never be.  Wish I’d have thought to get a picture, but my camera was in the truck.  If you know my son, you know that his hair could easily be compared to Einstein’s ‘do.  So not only was the cheese practically glued to his head (the cheese was gooey… looked like a damn good sandwich to me — even without the hair follicles), but it was even kind of jutting out in places.  It was pretty funny, and I didn’t really mind since we were only going home anyway.  We ended Saturday on an excellent note, and fell asleep in the chair watching — you guessed it– Frasier.  Pure happiness.  🙂

Monday Gabe & I woke bright & early to take his old bed to the Salvation Army.  My boy is in his own “big boy bed”, complete with big boy sheets (sports themed, of course.  but what else for a growing quarter back??).  Before heading out, however, there was the struggle of fitting a rather large baby bed into my rather tiny Mazda 3.  She thought she had won the battle, but in the end, I won.  Guess who won’t be doing that ever again.  I think I’d have had an easier time toting it onto the city bus than cramming it into my car.  But we got it up there, and thankfully it came out much more gracefully than it went in.  Afterward, we went to Aunt Casey, Aunt Neen & Uncle Dale.  We had a nice visit, so of course it only seemed right to ruin our high spirits with a trip to Wal-Mart.  I don’t know why I do it to myself.  When we finally got home, we enjoyed a nice lunch of bar-b-que’d ribs, potato salad, and garlic bread (my favorite part).  I even made cupcakes.  Because, you know, I’m painfully thin & all.  psh.

 

Dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream.  OMIGOSH.  Freakin’ awesome.  Gabe even had one — sans the peanut butter icing.  His was just buttercream.  🙂  But this is how I found him:

 

Pretty sure he liked it.  He’ll be okay to have peanut butter when he’s (officially) two.  So for his birthday I’m planning on making him banana cupcakes (he loves bananas. I about have to blindfold him when walking through the produce section lest he burst into tears) with the same buttercream.  Think that’ll be pretty good.  But that’s two months away… I think I’ve got a little time to plan.

Happy Wednesday… we’re almost there!