2nd Time is the Charm!

I’ve been gone for a while again, but it was for a better reason.  The doctors finally figured out the issue, I had surgery, and I’m back to work!  All of my extreme leg pain that caused me to barely walk, not be able to sit, and have problems standing was caused by my left ovary.  Which I no longer have.  It’s a very rare condition (of course!), which is why it took so long to be diagnosed.  And, I have a lot of back issues, so with the way the pain was, it seemed to be coming from my back.

I just want to jump back into life, and all of its activities.  I can’t, because I spent so many months barely able to move, but I feel like I missed so much that I want to make up for lost time right now.  So I’m doing as much as I can each day, and then falling into the recliner to recover.  It’s so wonderful to wear pants again, and to know I can just get in the car and go to the store if I need something, and that I’m not dependent on Husband to make it happen.

My family was amazing, and I couldn’t have made it through all of this without them.  I truly do have the best and most amazing Husband in the world.  It fell to him to do everything, including clothes shopping with Oldest One for sorority rush clothes, and going to the dance store with Little One for school dance class items.  He did it without complaint.  He drove, cleaned, cooked, shopped, and went to doctor’s appointments, procedures, and surgeries.  I know there is a lot more he did, but you get the idea.  He was there to make me smile, cheer me up, make sure I ate, hold my hand, and just be the most incredible all round best friend and Husband anybody could ask for.  I am truly blessed being married to him.

The girls were great too.  They got used to me just lying there, but they did a lot of getting me things, watching TV with me, talking to me, and helping me.  Oldest One did household shopping before she left for college, and she called me several times a week to chat and see how I was.  Little One would make sure I was comfortable, and keep me company, and was very happy to tell me about her day in detail.  My girls both cheered me up and kept me going through all of this.  I love them so very much!

I can’t say I’ll write every day, or even every week, but I’ll make an effort.  Getting back into the swing of things, and starting to run around again, as well as working full-time is going to keep me busy and exhausted for a while.  But writing and reading all of the wonderful blogs I follow truly helped me to keep going, so I don’t want to feel cut off from all of it.  And once I find my groove again, I’m sure it will include time to write, post, and read.

So for now, I hope everyone is enjoying the New Year, and that life is treating you well!

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Religon & Food

One of my friends was complaining about her religion yesterday, so I told her to become Jewish, the food is great! And thinking about it, with the holidays coming up, I do enjoy the food.  And the celebration.  And the being with family.

I grew up the youngest, with the brother closest in age to me 6.5 years older. So holidays were important, because my brothers would be home, and my Mom cooked, and is was happy.  By junior high all my brothers were out of the house most of the time, so it was like being an only child.

I remember if Chanukah didn’t fall close to Christmas we’d celebrate it late, so my brothers could be home. My Mom would cook a big dinner, and we’d have yummy potato latkes with sour cream.  The sour cream is important, because they can be served with sour cream or with applesauce, and I’m sorry, but applesauce is wrong, and I won’t offer it in my house.  We’d light the menorah, enjoy dinner, and open gifts.  I liked it because we were all together, and eating good food.

Husband has learned to make amazing homemade latkes, wanting nothing to do with the box mix stuff I grew up on. And I make a great cake shaped like a dreidle.  Or cookies in the shape of a dreidles with blue frosting.  We eat the heck out of the latkes.  We introduced my in-laws to latkes a few years ago, and they loved them too.  I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t, because what’s not to like about fried potatoes with sour cream?

I also love Passover food, but done the right way. We once had a Passover with a whole lot of prunes in the food.  I have no idea what was going on there, but me, Husband and the girls did not like it.  Passover food does require not using leavened bread, but there are so many delicious recipes out there that doesn’t matter.  We didn’t go to a Seder last year, and I missed the fun of being with others, doing the whole Seder story, and eating all of the food.

I don’t recommend choosing or converting to a religion for the food. But, for me, food is a big part of being Jewish.  We eat at all the holidays, and if someone is sick, gets married, has a baby, or passes away food is involved.  When I was away at college, and came home for a weekend visit, my Mom always had a noodle kugel waiting for me.  It was wonderful.  And I’m getting hungry.  I wish we had some kugel, or matzo ball soup, or even some kimish bread, which was my Bubbe’s special treat she made me, in the house.  But we don’t.  So, a PB&J for me.  Definitely not on the Jewish food list, but still tasty!

Barbie Table Memories

It happened on Mother’s Day when Oldest One was about 5 and Little One was about 2.  The Barbie Table had been problematic for several days.  The Barbie Table came about as a way to keep all the wonderful rooms Barbie lives in (and that Mattel realized was a much better way to go then a simple townhouse that took up a corner) along with furniture and clothes in one place and somewhat organized.  It was still messy, but a contained messy.

Oldest One was in a non-sharing mood, and kept getting mad at Little One for wanting to play at the Barbie Table with her.  So, about a half hour before Mother’s Day dinner with my Mom and Dad, Oldest One lost it and yelled at her sister again, at which point Husband was done.  He went into the playroom with two large garbage bags, swept everything on the Barbie Table into the bags, and told Oldest One she had lost the Barbie stuff until she could share.  That caused a meltdown, and Oldest One went into her room to cry, with my Mom following her.

I had no problem with what Husband did, we had taken toys away for not sharing before, it was just the timing.  Right before dinner on Mother’s Day wasn’t the best timing, but really, with kids, is the timing ever good?  Oldest One calmed down, we had a nice dinner, and a few days later the Barbie Table was back.  My Mom had a completely different take on this.

My Mom called me the next day and gave me a lecture about my supporting Husband over the girls.  She informed me that I should never choose Husband over the girls, and the girls were always going to be in the right.  She proudly told me she never sided with my Dad when it came to my brothers and I, and that she always supported our views instead.  That explained a lot about my parents relationship.  She wasn’t happy when I told her that Husband and I always tried to back the other when it came to the girls, and that we felt working together was the best way, and we weren’t going to side against each other.  Harder to do sometimes as the girls have gotten older, but we still strive for that.

Fast forward to today, when my Mom’s Boyfriend (we’ll call him MB) didn’t like me, or Husband, or the girls, and my Mom never tried to defend me.  Apparently I remind him of his deceased daughter who he didn’t get along with.  Pretty hard to overcome that.  And the things my Mom began to tell me about myself, my life and my family weren’t nice.  What she told my brothers about me was awful.  Never once did I hear her say anything good about me, just the bad.  What happened to siding with the child?  Not that I agreed with that, but it would be nice to think that a guy who has known me less than a year would at least get chastised a little bit for being mean, rude, and just not a good person.

My Mom wants to act like none of this happened, but it did, and it really upset and hurt me.  I know she won’t be here forever, and I know at some point this needs to be resolved.  Oldest One is inviting her to the graduation.  Little One isn’t, but after how my Mom treated Little One’s Bat Mitzvah, and then forgot Little One’s birthday, well, it’s understandable.  But when I think of having a conversation with my Mom about all of this I just get so angry at how she treated me, and how it’s okay for MB to think and say bad things without anything being said to him about how he acts.  I also feel childish thinking and feeling this, but at the same time I just can’t get over it.

This is on my mind at some point every day.  I try not to let it be because I do get so upset, but my Mom and I used to talk every day, and she used to do a lot with us, and was a big part of our lives.  We haven’t seen her since September, we don’t talk anymore, and she has missed everything the girls are doing for over a year.  At my Dad’s funeral an old friend of my parents, whose wife had died many years before, was there with his daughter, who is my age.  My Mom later told me that he had remarried, but was divorced, and during his marriage his 2nd wife hadn’t wanted anything to do with his daughters, so he hadn’t seen them during the marriage, two or three years, and was just building a new realtionship with them and his grandchildren.  She thought that was awful of him, and that he should have stood up to his wife and not abandoned his girls.  Yeah, I think that too.

What is up with February 22nd?

I’m not sure what it is about February 22nd, but it seems to be the most popular date to plan every school or club activity possible. Or at least the last weekend in February is.  And my family is used to trying to get to several activities in one day.  I remember this happening in years past, but this year every time we turn around there is something else we should consider doing.

To make it more fun the girls have been/are sick.  Yesterday Little One stayed home from school feeling like she was going to throw up.  Not that she got up, felt bad and went back to bed.  There was an extended time period of melting down and crying and insistence that she would fall behind if she missed classes (she currently has all A’s…).  I finally had to leave for work, which I arrived at 30 minutes late so I had to stay 30 minutes later to make it an 8 hour day.  I felt Husband could handle it just fine…he got her to go back to bed.

Then, 10 minutes before I was about to leave Oldest One called, and she was in tears wanting to know where I was.  That morning she was stuffy and felt a migraine coming on, so I made sure she had migraine medication and told her to take Sudafed.  Turns out she wanted to know where I was because the school cheer coach had sent her home from practice because she was sick.  And she was calling me from her car as she drove home, which is a huge NO.  I told her to take Advil when she got home and I’d be there in about an hour and to never use her cell phone while driving…to which she replied “you do it all the time.”  I don’t, but I have, so I told her to do as I say not as I do, that I loved her, and finished the call.  She has a temperature, body aches, a sore throat, and feels like she is going to throw up.  Fun times!

Sick girls makes the weekend easier to figure out.  The activity going on where Oldest One will attend college is out, because we aren’t taking her on a 2 hour drive for a 6 hour event when she doesn’t feel well.  And technically it is a 3 day thing, and she decided yesterday she just can’t do that to herself, and it will be fine if she doesn’t go.  Off the list!  Also off the list, sadly, is attending the school dance team’s competition.  We know several girls on the team, and wanted to go support them, but their competition is at the same time as basketball playoffs.

On Tuesday our club cheer gym decided to try and fit a competition in Saturday, which would have interfered with the girls doing a community service event with their respective honor societies.  Luckily (awful way to put it) there are so many sick kids they decided against that.  So the girls can still drag themselves to the community event.  Which interferes with the Girls Varsity basketball playoffs.

Both Girls and Boys Varsity basketball made playoffs, and the schedule was just put out yesterday.  Games on Friday, and if won, on Saturday.  Which the girls may or may not cheer at, but which we will go to so we can support our “other” children.  Except Girls Varsity plays at the same time as the community event, so we aren’t sure about making that one.  Boys Varsity plays at night, so those should be easy.

Which brings me back to why February 22nd is so popular for every activity known to mankind to take place on?  I’ll probably never figure it out, but next year I’ll just mark the calendar to hide under the bed and pretend the last weekend of February isn’t happening.

The One with the Louder Yell

Last week I learned that even though I say No a lot to the girls, they are actually more concerned with upsetting Husband than they are with getting me worked up.  His voice is louder (of course!) and I guess his stern tone is just far more forbidding than mine is.

I’ve known for a while the girls don’t think I’m as stern, although they do say I have an “angry walk” and if they see me doing it they leave me alone.  Doesn’t that sound intimidating, an angry walk.  I don’t feel I’m a total pushover, and Husband has been known to give an okay to things I’m iffy on.  On Halloween I said No to Oldest One staying out all night at a bonfire and missing school the next day even though “all the kids would be there.”  I did ask who all the kids were, and got the answer I wouldn’t know any of them.  That made it better, hanging out with a bunch of teenagers I had never met.  She had friends over to watch horror movies and was in school on November 1st.

So last week was a cookie baking and poster making week as senior athletes were being recognized, and cheerleaders were giving them goodies.  At least mine were.  Oldest One got home from club cheer practice after 9p (she had to stop at the store for candy to hand out) and let us know she was making and icing sugar cookies.  Of course, because I wanted to go to bed.  Oh, and she was making several amazing posters, one of which Little One needed to work on because it was for her basketball player.  Oldest One needed my help writing numbers on the cookies, so I told her to just wake me up and I would go downstairs, write numbers, then go up and go back to sleep.  She said No, never mind, she didn’t want Dad to get mad and yell.  What?  I asked if she was worried about me getting mad, and she said no, I’d only get mad if she got sick (I had said staying up all night for several days doing all this stuff was a great way to get run down and to get sick).  I said that I’d never gotten mad at her for getting sick, and she said, “See!? Exactly!” which did make sense if you look at it from a teenage view.

Then I got upstairs and Little One was melting down because she didn’t know what to do for the poster.  I had just traced out part of it in pencil, so I said I’d go help her and then go to bed.  She didn’t want me to because she didn’t want Dad to get mad and yell that she wasn’t letting me go to bed.  Again, What?  I convinced her nobody would yell, we went down, and I helped her get the poster started, and went upstairs to get ready for bed, and to complain to Husband that it wasn’t for my welfare the girls weren’t willing to bother me, but because they didn’t want to make him mad and have him yell.

He thought that was really funny.  Mainly because I come from a family of people who yell to communicate, and it took me several years to learn not to yell, but if anyone is going to crack and yell it would be me.  He also thought it was funny the girls weren’t worried about me not getting enough sleep and having to work, or anything along the lines of making my life more difficult, it was all about not upsetting Dad.

So what I get from this is I need to learn how to be louder than Husband, and sound more threatening too.  An angry walk just isn’t enough; I need something extra that makes it bad to upset me.  Realistically, who am I kidding?  I like being needed to help with their things, and I’ll drag myself downstairs and complain about losing sleep while happily helping with whatever they are doing.  I enjoy those small bonding moments, and I like to see the girls doing nice things for others and not expecting anything in return.  Oldest One also sets cookies aside just for me, so really, I can’t complain too loudly or I might not get the cookies.

I Didn’t Want to Call Mom

Yesterday was my Mom’s 83rd birthday.  This is the first year in a very long time that I haven’t celebrated with her.  I did call her.  I called her not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to.  For me this is an important distinction.  It wasn’t a long conversation, because I wasn’t up for it, and all it did was put me in a bad mood.

I thought about writing everything that happened to cause this situation, but that would be too long, and also upset me.  Basically, the way I see it (and I’m sure she sees it in a different way), moving in with her Boyfriend changed it all.  I encouraged her to move in with her Boyfriend, and thought it would be a good thing.  There is no way I could have known I remind Boyfriend of his deceased daughter who he had a bad relationship with, so he doesn’t like me, Husband or the girls.  My Mom told me as way of explanation for why we felt he didn’t want to be around us.  Nice.

So, it went from seeing my Mom every weekend, and having her do all sorts of things with us to only seeing her when she could convince Boyfriend to spend a few hours with us.  Then she started to berate me for perceived insults against Boyfriend, and was always mad at me, and made me feel that nothing I did or my family did was good enough, or right, or acceptable.

My Mom also called my brothers and told them a lot of nasty things about me trying to break up her relationship, and being mean…I’ll leave it at that, though she said much worse.  My brothers have been fairly cold to me, and one of them started to ream me out, except I pretty much hung up on him to stop it.  Plus I was crying.  I was worried about some things my Mom had mentioned about Boyfriend, such as it was a mistake to move in with him, and that he knew all her financial information and told her what she could spend money on.  My brothers blamed me for the problems, and said my Mom was happy and Boyfriend was great.  My brothers also live out of state and give my Mom a lot of phone advice, but never actually fly out to visit or help her.  That was left to me, so I have no idea what has been going on since I stopped talking to her in September.

When I called yesterday my Mom acted like nothing was wrong, and just wanted to get together because she misses me and the girls.  Mind you she hasn’t called, hasn’t apologized for saying some really nasty things, hasn’t apologized for ignoring the girls (she completely missed Little One’s birthday, which really made her sad), nothing.  Husband pointed out that is how my Mom is, but I can’t pretend nothing is wrong.  I can’t pretend that she pretty much ignored me when I was not able to get out of bed for a month, and instead of helping would call and yell at me because I wasn’t nice enough to Boyfriend.  When I needed her for support to get through a hard time she only made everything worse.  I know she is elderly, I know I am supposed to be better than this, but right now, I just don’t want to be around her.  I know I don’t want to do this to my girls, and I hope they never feel I let them down in the way I feel my Mom has let me down.

Husband was wonderful last night in helping to cheer me up, and didn’t say a word when my dinner was chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and found Star Trek:  The Wrath of Khan for us to watch on TV (I am a huge Star Trek fan).  Then teenagers descended upon us (and the girls weren’t home from cheer practice yet) and that was the final piece that put me back into a good mood.  Something about the kids coming over, being comfortable at our house and eating everything in sight is just enjoyable.  It gets so loud I can’t hear anything, but the loud is laughter and happy talking, so I don’t need to really hear, I just smile at the chaos.  I’m not a perfect Mom, I don’t think there is such a thing, but I do my best, I love my girls, and I love the extra kids Husband and I have come to worry over and care about.  These are the people who make my life happy and extraordinary.

Out-of-State Competition

We had the first out-of-town competition two weeks ago.  This was our third time at this competition, so we knew what to expect, but every competition is still different from year to year.  It was nice to get out of town, even if we didn’t do anything, and we had a good time.  Oldest One got teary on Day Two when she realized she won’t be there competing with our cheer gym next year.  I think watching the video on the big screen of their performance hit her emotionally.  I don’t usually buy the girls clothes at competitions, because the stuff is so expensive, but this year I bought them each a t-shirt to commemorate Oldest Ones last year at this one.

Cheer competitions have a lot of sitting around for parents.  This one was not an exception.  We had to be there (okay, the girls did) at 7a for the girls team to go on shortly after 9a.  And we do try to watch all the teams in all the categories on the stage in front of us, but after a while they all start to look alike.  We left around 10a Day One, but had to be back at 3:30p for Oldest One to compete with a second team.

Just to make it all more fun, in between competing the passenger window behind the driver decided not to go up after being rolled down.  We sent the girls in the room to change/shower/rest (Oldest One couldn’t shower yet) while Husband tackled the door and I pretended to be helpful.  It was mostly a one person job.  He took the door completely apart, and found the part to roll up the window was completely dead.  So we drove to an auto parts store, but the part wasn’t in stock anywhere in the city we were in.  Husband creatively got the window up, duct taped it, and put the door back together so we could finish out the weekend and get back home.

The hardest part of the weekend was avoiding other parents.  I know, that sounds harsh.  I like the majority of the parents at our cheer gym, but there are some it is just better to not be around because they are proud train wrecks.  I did get cornered on Saturday coming out of the bathroom.  And by cornered I mean this woman wanted to hug me, and I did not want to hug her, but she literally had her arms out and moved with me blocking me off until I gave up and hugged her.  Why does this woman insist on hugging me or touching my hair?

Saturday night we went to a BBQ at the condo rentals several families were at.  I have to say that part of the out-of-town fun is at the end of Day One when several of us Moms get together and do a group hair curl.  The kids don’t complain as much, we help each other so it gets done faster, and it is just a lot of laughing and talking.  This time I only did Oldest One’s hair because another Mom grabbed Little One and put her hair up.   I also do another cheerleader’s hair, but this time a Mom who finished early grabbed her and did her hair.  The kids talk, us Moms chat, and then we all go to our hotels and get to sleep early because we are so tired.

Day Two was the Super Bowl, so Husband went to see both girls team compete around 10:30a and go through awards, and then he hunkered down for some football in the hotel room.  Oldest One and I had been arguing about who would drive, since neither of us wanted to drive in a city we didn’t know.  I drove while she navigated, and I missed the Super Bowl while Oldest One competed with her second team and waited for awards.  Little One came with me so we had time together which was nice.  The bad part was our team competed early, so they were released to parents two hours before awards.  I got the girls food and then we sat on the floor in the lobby (really hard to get up after that long!) until awards.  It seems I got the better deal going to the cheer competition over watching the Super Bowl this year.

Next year Oldest One will fondly think of us sitting in the hotel, waving our arms wildly every 15 minutes when the lights and fan shut down (a quirk of the room timer that doesn’t work right), or remember me stumbling out of bed several times during the night to keep turning the air down because she was hot and throwing covers around and waking Husband and I up.  If the room was kept at about 65 I froze but the girl’s side of the room stayed comfortable.  We will miss her complaining about the lack of water pressure and showerhead made for short people.  I guess I’ll have to argue with Little One, and throw water bottles at her…the arguing I have down, the throwing stuff, well, I might need practice.