Tuesday, November 18, 2014

That time I was a bully.

Being nice has never been hard for me. The fact that some people are mean to others just because they're different has never made sense to me. Although I guess there's been enough research now on bullying for us to know that many times someone who is mean to another, is only doing it to make themselves feel better, which is absurd, but whatever.

I am nowhere near perfect in this area, but since kindness tends to be my default, it floors me when people ten, fifteen, or even twenty years after the fact thank me for being nice to them back in school. Some have even said that I was the only person who reached out to them. Can that be right? If so, that is tragic.

Here's an example: My mom, after being a single parent for fifteen plus years, remarried a wonderful man. This man had two children who happened to attend the same Christian school that I had, and while I remember them, I don't remember interacting with them. Maybe because they were younger than me? I don't know. At any rate, I was chatting with my step-sister on one of my visits up north, and she told me that we had been in the same Chemistry class back in high school. Really? I have NO recollection of this. Anyway, she said that I stuck up for her when kids in the class were being mean, and that she's never forgotten it.

I find this astonishing for so many reasons. Not only do I have no memory of being her advocate, but I don't even remember being in the same class. And yet, I apparently did something that had a profoundly positive impact on her. Can you imagine if I'd been one of those kids who'd been mean to her, and then years later ended up being a part of her family?! Yikes.

Sadly, there was a time that I wasn't only mean to someone, but down right cruel. I was a senior at the time, and dating someone who chose to cheat on me with an underclassman. As would be expected of a teenager, I found solace in my girlfriends, who were more than ready to commiserate with me. So much so, that they hatched a plan to teach the girl a lesson. I listened as they plotted to grab her at lunch, carry her to the Senior Lawn, and shove a burrito in her face. 

Oh my goodness. I feel sick to my stomach just typing that last paragraph, because that's exactly what they did ON MY BEHALF. The idea wasn't mine, and the act wasn't carried out by me, but did I say anything to stop my friends from doing it? No. I just watched them do their best to show support and loyalty to me, by humiliating someone else.

Oh for a DO-OVER.

Fast forward maybe five years, and this awful scene is still haunting me. I knew that the only way I would ever get some inner peace would be to apologize to her, but how? I no longer lived where I grew up and went to school, and the Internet was still developing so Google wasn't a thing. I think I may have called Information (4-1-1, remember that?) Whatever the case, I got her last known address, and wrote a heartfelt letter apologizing for not saying something all those years ago to keep that terrible act from being carried out. I told her that I didn't expect her to forgive me, but that if she could find it in her heart to do so, I would be forever grateful. I mailed the letter and waited. In the days ahead, I couldn't help but notice how much lighter my heart felt. It's amazing how freeing an apology can be. I knew I didn't deserve a reply or forgiveness, but that was okay. I did what I needed to do, and any response from her would just be icing on the cake.

Well, I did get a reply and a thick layer of icing to boot! She was beyond gracious, thanking me for my letter and saying that I must have grown into a godly woman to have sent such an apology. She excused the cruel behavior as kids just being kids, but thanked me for my letter and ended it with forgiveness and well wishes. WOW.



The sweet smell of forgiveness. 


There's nothing else like it. Especially when you don't deserve it.



Note:  I've wanted to share this story many times, but kept having second thoughts. Thoughts like why share it at all? What purpose would it serve? I finally decided that if by posting it, you are encouraged to apologize or ask forgiveness for something, then that's a good thing, right? And on the flip side, if you have been hurt or wronged by another, and are asked by that person to forgive them ... please extend forgiveness. It will not only bring healing to them, but to you as well.












Saturday, October 25, 2014

Why I Don't Drink

No, I don't think alcohol in and of itself is bad. So relax. This isn't a a holier than thou blog post.

My dad has been sober for 30 years or so, and I am so proud of him for that.

I didn't purposefully decide, because of my dad's disease, to shun alcohol. Even though I knew that genetically I might be predisposed to a life of addiction.

Throughout my life, I have noticed that I do get addicted to things easily. The hardest one to overcome so far has been, don't laugh, Diet Coke. GOOD LORD ALMIGHTY, that stuff is LETHAL!! I must have tried to quit drinking it 40 times if not 400. But every time I would get this false sense of self-control, and think that I could have just one. I'd think of my friends who live by the motto, "Everything in moderation." If they could do it, why couldn't I? I'll tell you why: There's no such thing as moderation for those who are prone to addiction.

I honestly don't think I would have EVER been able to kick the D.C. habit, had it not been for the blessing of Aspartame poisoning. It caused temporary paralysis on one side of my face, which I didn't link to the Diet Coke, until it happened a second time after a weekend of drinking NOTHING BUT the low calorie beverage. Anyway, it scared me so badly, that I haven't had a drop ever since, and that was three years ago!

Now you'd think I would have automatically deducted that alcohol would be something I personally needed to stay away from, but this was not so.

I remember one time when my sister and I were living together in our early twenties, and she was out of town. I had the thought, It's Friday night, you're all alone with nothing to do and no one to do it with ... why not go to the store and buy a wine cooler? So I did. And I enjoyed it so much, that I did the same thing the next night. When the third night rolled around, and I found myself not only longing for it again, but planning on how I would buy a four-pack instead of just one, I stopped with purse in hand and considered what was happening to me. Did I want to be controlled by this substance? I'd seen what it had done to my dad and our family, so why would I even be willing to risk it? I decided I wouldn't.


Fast forward a few years, and I'm engaged and on vacation with my fiance and his family. One day his folks decide to take the two of us to the Palm Springs Ritz Carlton for lunch.  I KNOW!!  So we go, and I'm offered wine. I accept, because not only am I "safe" with my soon-to-be family, but HELLO??? It's the Ritz Freaking Carlton!!

As soon as I had the first sip, I knew it was a mistake. And yet, when I was offered a second glass, I couldn't seem to refuse. I honestly don't remember if a third glass was involved, but I do remember realizing a few things that day. 

First of all, I'm a light weight. Half a glass would have been PLENTY. 

Secondly, I am extremely chatty after consuming alcohol. My companions were very gracious, but heavens to Betsy I must have been obnoxious if even I knew I was talking and laughing too much!!

Lastly, all I want to do after drinking is SLEEP. Now to be fair, that's all I want to do when I DON'T drink, but that day I found that the desire is definitely more intense after two - three glasses of wine. After lunch, my future husband and his parents wanted to drive around Palm Desert and take in the sights, which sounded like a GREAT idea. Sadly, I ended up passed out in the back seat the whole time. Charming, no?

No.

Sometimes I wish I could handle just a little, but for whatever reason, this is my cross to bear. We all have them, and we can either choose to deny ourselves or live a life that is less than God's best for us.

I've decided that I want His best, and for ME, that means no alcohol.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Being Falsely Accused of Road Rage

After Megan's volleyball game, she and Amanda begged for a Mc Donald's ice cream cone.

Being the awesome mom that I am, and knowing there was a large iced tea in it for me, I drove to the nearest Mickey D's.

As I was being handed the cones, I saw that our drive-thru, rarely frequented by us, dumped right into a parking lot exit which was backed up with cars that were trying to merge onto a busy street at rush hour.

As we inched to the exit, I noticed that the parking lot drivers were being courteous and doing the "every other car takes a turn" deal.

Until it was MY turn. 

NOW all of a sudden NO ONE will look my way. They all just look straight ahead as if completely unaware that there's a drive-thru AT ALL.

That's when I see another exit about 100 yards beyond the one I'm trying to merge into.

Excellent. If none of these Bozos will let me in their exit lane, CERTAINLY they won't care if I just cross in front of them to exit somewhere else, right?

WRONG.

Why are drivers SO LAME?!  And selfish. Oh my WORD. SO. SELFISH.

I tried my best to get their attention by waving, yelling, and slowly moving forward.

THREE DRIVERS COMPLETELY IGNORED ME.

I realize now as I'm writing this, that three cars doesn't seem like a lot, but you have to understand that it was taking FOREVER to get onto the actual street from the parking lot, so THREE cars seemed like a GAZILLION cars.

So what is a calm and rational mom to do when her yelling and arm waving is getting her nowhere?

HONK. THE. HORN.

Oh yes, I did.

Thankfully, the driver of the car that I was about to t-bone, didn't pull out a gun. She just continued to stare straight ahead. As if THAT'S fooling anyone!! 

Amanda: Mom! Control yourself!

Me: What?! They're all pretending to not see me, so I honked. All I want to do is cross in front of them, but they won't look over here so that I can show them with my arm signals that that's what I want to do!! What is WRONG with people?!?!? To the lady ignoring me: I DON'T WANT TO GET IN FRONT OF YOU!!! I JUST WANT TO CROSS OVER!!! SHEESH!!!

Amanda: Seriously, Mom. You have a problem.

Megan: Yeah, Mom. You're raging.

Me: Raging?!  As in Road Rage?? OH BROTHER!! THIS is NOT Road Rage!! I JUST want to CROSS OVER!!!!!!

Amanda: You should have gone to church with me last night to hear Josh. He talked about how we're only focused on what's right in front of us, rather than everyone else around us that we could be helping.

Me:







Right about then, I see the next driver, waiting two whole car lengths back, to give this lunatic plenty of room to file in line.

I waved profusely as I tried to explain with my hands: See? I just wanted to CROSS OVER. I'M REALLY NOT A CRAZY PERSON!! THANK YOU NICE DRIVER MAN!!

Don't you know, the girls talked about Mom and her road rage all the way home.

All the way.

ALL OF IT.

I finally said, after realizing that they would never let me have my day in court, "You're welcome for the ice cream."

Then they tattled on me to their dad.

I protested. He laughed. 

Whatever.







Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Read this before you leave your family.

Last Sunday a friend from church asked me how my sister was doing. He had traveled with her in a music group 20 years ago, and saw that she had recently been out to California for a women's retreat and just wanted an update. 

One subject lead to another, and before I knew it he was asking about my dad. Asking questions like if I saw him regularly even though he lives in Texas, or if we talk a lot on the phone? When I said, "No" to both questions, he apologized for prying. I assured him it was okay.

And it was okay, but the conversation got me thinking about my life and the choices we make. How we don't live in a vacuum, and that everything we do seems to affect someone else, whether we want to own that or not.

My dad chose to leave us when I was in first grade. 

I realize that his decision making was tainted by alcoholism, but the ramifications of his choice to leave us reached far and wide. His vacancy has affected relationships I've had with others ever since. Always so afraid of being abandoned or discarded. Doing whatever necessary to keep someone from leaving me. Or better yet, keeping them at a safe distance so that it wouldn't hurt as bad when they DID leave.

I realize now how unhealthy that is, and I didn't really intend on sharing that when I started typing, but apparently I was supposed to. Perhaps it will give some insight to my current circle of friends ... DON'T LEAVE ME!!! Ha! Ha! Seriously though ... don't.

Alright. Back to what I originally thought was the point of this post ... 

When my dad left, I'm sure he didn't think that one day he might enjoy having a relationship with me. I doubt he thought much about the future as far as it pertained to his three children. All he could see was the present, and how he wanted out to explore greener grass.

As for me, I never set out to hold a grudge toward my dad, and I honestly don't. I love him, and forgave him years ago. However, when you only talk to someone on the phone twice a year growing up (birthday and Christmas), it's pretty hard to keep a relationship going. Perhaps he wanted to call more often, but maybe didn't know what to say once he did call. So sad. 

I think about my daughters and how blessed they are to have a dad in the home that loves them, and I see what joy they bring to him. My dad missed out on all of that, because of poor choices. And what's worse is that while I love my dad, we don't have a relationship. Not a real one anyway. And that wasn't intentional, it's just what happens when you don't spend time with someone.

So what I'm trying to say to you dads out there (and moms too, I suppose) is that if you're thinking about leaving your family, you really need to consider all of the consequences. Those you leave behind will be scarred forever. If they're believers, they'll have the Lord and His Holy Spirit to fill the void you leave, but their future will be ever altered thanks to your decision. And if you think that someday, after enough water has passed under the bridge, your kids will want to have a relationship with you, you might be sorely mistaken. And how sad would that be? My dad has NO IDEA how TRULY AWESOME I AM. I know that sounds silly and perhaps a tad bit conceited, but I do feel sorry for him. It's just one of the many consequences to the path he chose.

Now all that said, if you've already left your family, this piece is not meant to condemn. I sincerely hope that your scenario ends differently than ours did. God still does miracles.




Monday, October 13, 2014

80's Love

I am thankful for many things. Not the least of which is my love for the 80's: The big hair, obnoxious shoulder pads and killer synthesized music. Pretty sure that will be the decade of choice in heaven.


So apparently I've spoken fondly of this time span on more than one occasion to my girls, because this happened ...

I took Megan shopping for some warmer clothes in preparation for her week of Outdoor Education camp in the mountains.

After showing the dressing room attendant our items, she looked at Meg and said, "Pick any room that suits your fancy."

Meg looked at me and I gave her the Don't say a WORD look.

Once we were in the dressing room with the door closed, she looked at me and whispered mockingly, "Pick any room that SUITS your FANCY." And started cracking up.

Me:  Have you never heard that phrase before?

Meg:  NO! Why, is that a saying from the EIGHTIES???"

Me:  Ha!! No.

Later that night we were sitting at the table with my husband and sister, and Meg wanted to tell them about the oh so hilarious phrase she'd heard earlier that day. After she was done ...

Meg to my sister: My mom's favorite singer from the 80's was called Princess.

Me:  PRINCE not Princess.

Meg: Whatever.


My husband then pointed out that Prince wore enough make-up and feminine clothing to be called Princess. 

It was then MY turn to say, "Whatever."







Monday, September 22, 2014

"Super" Psycho Sisters

I have a sister, so I get it. Still, the behavior of my daughters can be so incredibly RIDICULOUS, that I often find myself just standing with my mouth open in disbelief.

Here's the most recent, fresh-in-my-baffled-mind example from this morning.

I don't know about any of you other parents out there, but there have been times when I've accidentally mixed up some of my girls' folded laundry. Meaning, I've put something of Amanda's in Megan's room and vice versa.

Apparently I did that over the weekend with a Superman t-shirt.


I washed the laundry. I folded the laundry. I distributed the laundry.

Next thing I know, Amanda comes out wearing the Superman t-shirt ...

Amanda: I like this. It fits me better than it does Megan.

Me: Oh, is that not yours?

Amanda: It is NOW, because YOU put it in MY room.

Before I can respond to how absurd her comment is, Megan walks in, takes one look at Amanda, and asks: Why is she wearing MY shirt?!

Me: Because I forgot whose it was and put it in Amanda's room by mistake, sorry.

Megan: Take it off.

Amanda: No.

Megan: TAKE IT OFF!!

Me: We need to leave. She'll wear it tonight, then I'll wash it and give it back to you.

This did NOT make Megan happy, but she somehow managed to be civil for the rest of the evening.

The next morning (which would be TODAY) Megan tells me that she wants to wear the Superman shirt. I tell her that it's not clean, and to wait until I've washed it. She says she doesn't care that it's dirty, and barges into Amanda's room where she grabs it and runs back to her room while Amanda chases her, screaming my name. I tell Amanda to calm down, because it's really Megan's shirt anyway, but that doesn't help.

The girls waste a good 10 minutes yelling at each other, which is perfect because we're already like 15 minutes late, so why not spend a little extra time screaming at each other?

As we're finally ready to walk out the door, I take a look at Megan's shirt, and see that it's NOT the Superman shirt!! ARE YOU EVEN KIDDING ME???

Me: Megan, why aren't you wearing the Superman shirt?

Megan: Because I wanted to wear THIS one.


I so give up.








Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's Official: I'm Old

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but I think I got old.

I'm less than two weeks away from my 45th birthday, and have noticed stuff happening that I thought for SURE wouldn't come knocking until I reached my eighties.

I'm also realizing now, that I may have made some snap judgements back in my crazy, carefree youth. Judgements about senior citizens that I should have let slide, or at least investigated a bit further before writing them off as senile or too old to care.

Here are just a few of those hastily formed opinions, as well as the flip sided mature discoveries ...

Younger Me's Snap Judgement:
If you tell me a story more than once, because you've forgotten that you've told me already, you're old.

Middle-Aged Me's Realization:
When you have a great story to tell, you tell anyone and everyone who will listen. Sometimes days, weeks or months will go by before you have another opportunity to tell that story. When you finally do get that chance, you might hear yourself opening with, "Have I told you this already?" It used to drive me nuts when my mom would ask that question, but sadly, I totally get it now. Sorry, Mom.

Snap Judgement:
If you're a woman with big ankles, it's probably because you don't exercise and have given up on life.

Realization:
There's actually medication out there that has ankle swelling as a side effect!! What?? It's TRUE. When I was diagnosed with hypertension (gotta love genetics), I started the journey of trying to find a blood pressure medication that would help lower my BP without debilitating side effects. The first one made me cough for 6 weeks. The second one made my ankles swell like elephants. The third one was PERFECT, but didn't come in a generic, so the search continued. Finally, when the fourth one only made my ankles swell 25%, we decided that that was as good as it was gonna get.

Snap Judgement:
Old people don't take care of their feet, and that's why their toes and toe nails get all weird and twisted.

Realization:
Toes (and their nails) have a mind of their own!! Oh my WORD, what's the deal with these TOES?! A couple years ago, while giving myself one of my regular pedicures (because I take CARE of my feet), I noticed a callus on the bottom of my toe. I couldn't figure out why the callus had developed on that toe, but none of the others. UNTIL I realized that THAT toe had begun to slowly twist to the left. That's right. While all of the other toes lay flat, the one next to the Thumb Toe (as my daughter used to call it) is gradually leaning in to the left.


Now I know you can't get the full effect from this photo, and you probably think I'm exaggerating, but trust me. The gradual turning of this toe has not only caused a callus underneath, but the NAIL is now all thick and horn-like. WHAT IN THE WORLD??? What's next, a wart on the end of my nose?! Honestly.

Snap Judgement:
Old people have weird smelling pee.

Realization:
If I eat a lot of garlic, the next day my pee smells like my grandma's!! All this time I thought it was just Old People Pee smell, but as I think back, I remember that my grandma took garlic supplements every stinkin' day!! 

Snap Judgement:
Only old people forget why they walk into a room.

Realization:
It's so, so, very, very easy to get distracted on your way to the place where you were going to do ... something.

True Life Example FROM TONIGHT:

While sitting in the front room, I realized I was thirsty. I headed to the kitchen for a glass of water. On the way, I saw Megan's empty ice cream dish on the table. I picked up the dish and heard the dogs whining at the sliding glass door which meant they were hungry. I put the dish in the sink and filled it with water. I then thought to myself, "Now why did I come in here?" I couldn't for the life of me remember. So then I thought, "I wonder if I have enough iced tea made for tomorrow?"  As I turned to the fridge to check, I heard the dogs whining again and thought, "Oh, that's right. I need to get them some food." I walked into the laundry room and got the food. I went outside to feed and pet them. I came back inside and washed my hands. I headed back to the front room where I sat down and realized I was thirsty. Ugh. WATER. THAT'S why I went into the kitchen. I headed back into the kitchen, grabbed a glass, filled it with water and thought, "I wonder if I have enough iced tea made for tomorrow?"  I recognized that this thought was not new, just forgotten. I opened the fridge, saw that I was almost out of tea and made some more.


Black Dot = Ice Cream Dish

Left Arrow = Whining Dogs

X = Location of Water & Iced Tea

Forward Arrow = Dog Food

Tile Floor = PATH TO OLD PEOPLE BRAIN

There's so much more I could say about this ... like how horrified my daughters are when they see a hair (I said hair, not whisker) growing out of my chin. They want to know how I could leave the house in such a state?! And all I can think of is how thankful I am that I remembered to blend in the concealer under my eyes, which I may or may not have forgotten to do once or twice before.

If you ask my daughters, or any other kid in their twenties ... they'd probably look at me and call me old, and I guess they'd be right. I mean, I just called someone in their twenties a KID. 

Oy vey.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

The PERFECT Comeback

Some people are just plain mean.

I remember praying for my girls when they were little, that they would be kind to others and have the courage to stand up for themselves.

The other day I got a glimpse into how the Lord is answering those prayers.

Amanda wore light purple colored pants to school. She looked so cute, but that afternoon she shared with me a conversation she'd had earlier with a not-so-nice girl that I'll be referring to as "Jo". Shout out to Facts of Life's Nancy McKeon!! xoxo

Me: So how was your day?

Amanda: Good.

Me: That's good.

Amanda: Jo looked at my outfit and said, "WHY are you wearing PURPLE PANTS?!"

Me stunned silence, then finally: What did you say?

Amanda smiling: I said, "Why AREN'T you wearing PURPLE PANTS???"

Me:  Oh my gosh, YES. That is AWESOME!! Seriously. That's like THE most perfect response EVER. What did she say?

Amanda:  She laughed.


How GREAT is THAT?! To come back with a response that not only sticks up for herself, but makes the mean girl LAUGH at HER own LAMENESS?!?! 

SO FANTASTIC. I thank the Lord, that He's given my daughter the confidence to come back with such a witty response, that wasn't mean, yet COMPLETELY DIFFUSED a would be hurtful situation. 

Only my God could be that fabulous.  




I couldn't be more grateful or proud. 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cell Sucking


My kids are still relatively young, so I know there are a lot of uncharted parenting waters that await me. However, at this stage of motherhood, there is one thing I did with my babies that I am still quite proud of: 

I took away their pacifiers when they turned one. 

Hard core, right? The reason for this was that I feared that the older they got, the more difficult it would be to ween them from their binkies, and I didn't want to be the mom of a kindergartener who was still dependent upon one.

As my girls have matured, so has technology. Ten to twelve years have passed since my Battle of the Binkies, and ninety-one percent of Americans now own a cell phone. Sixty-one percent of those cells are smartphones.

Two and a half years ago I joined the sixty-one percent, and here's what I've discovered:

  • When I owned a modest flip phone, it took waaay too long to text (Hitting a button three times for one letter? Puh-lease.) and I couldn't access the internet. As such, I rarely had my phone with me. It was fine hanging out in my purse … without me … for hours on end.
  • Once I obtained a smartphone, everything changed (Read more about that over here.) I can text a whole paragraph faster than I could text two words on my old phone. My email and social media sites are available to me anytime and anyplace, so naturally I check them constantly.
  • I never leave my smartphone alone. Unless it's charging, which, if I time it right, is at bedtime so I can still have it near me while it's refueling for the next day. It's not that I can't sleep without it, it's just that I … sleep better with it. Yeah, that's it.

Allow me to elaborate a little on that last point. The ios7 came out last September, but I haven't installed it yet. Wanna know why? Because my husband has to back up everything on my phone in order to make room for the new operating system. This will take hours. Hours AWAY from ME. The thought of this makes me anxious. Why? What is it about this hand held device that has such a hold on me? Why must I carry it from room to room, everywhere I go? It's become an extension of my arm, as if I have a hand on the end of one wrist, and a phone on the end of the other. Forget Edward Scissor Hands … I'm Edward Cellphone Hands! And you know what? I'm not the only one like this. Case in point: My twenty year old niece walked right into a hot tub, A HOT TUB FULL OF WATER, holding her phone. Worse than that? It took several seconds and her friends pointing before she even realized her phone was in her hand UNDER THE WATER. Why? Because it's always with her. Always.

Here's the harsh reality. These phones have become our security. THEY'RE OUR ADULT BINKIES!! We whine when they're not working. We get all fidgety and cranky when we forget them at home. We make sure everyone knows, through a tweet or Facebook post if and why we don't have them. It seems that rather than spending any spare moments to practice the presence of God, or search His Word for peace and direction, we'd rather check out the latest life hacks. 

You know that phrase, “You can't take it with you?” How about, “There's no cell service in Heaven.” The face to face contacts and relationships we create on this earth in the short time we have left, is what will matter for Eternity. Not how many followers we have on Twitter.



Man. Who would have guessed that the smartphone technology would actually cause us to regress back to the Terrible Twos? With the exception of a few self-controlled adults, it seems we're just a bunch of oversized toddlers, sucking on our cells.




Image found here.



Monday, July 14, 2014

My Beef with Face Time

When I first heard of Face Time, I thought it sounded great! What a wonderful way to stay connected to friends and family who live hundreds of miles away.

Then I tried it, and vowed to never do it again. Why? Because I look HIDEOUS on that screen! I know it's vain, but seriously ... does ANYONE look good while they Face Time? I swear I could be in full make-up and wearing a wedding gown, but would somehow end up looking homeless on Face Time. At least the creators of this App were kind enough to give you a preview of what you look like when the call comes in, so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to subject the caller to what's being reflected back to you. It always goes the same way for me ... 



I hear the phone ring.

I look and see my face on the screen.

I shudder.

I say to myself, "Heck no."

I press DECLINE as if my life depends on it.




Here's a pic of the one time I actually accepted a call from Megan when she was on a trip without us:  



See how I've positioned myself in such a way that half of my face (along with 3 of my chins) is cut off? It took me half of the conversation to figure out that trick.

So besides the "looking hideous" part of Face Time, there's the awkward way my children use it. 

You know how when kids get together to "play" nowadays, it actually means sitting in the same room while playing games on their own electronic devices? Well, that's what happens when they Face Time. They call each other up, and then sit there playing games. Every once in a while one of them will actually speak, but not very often. That's WEIRD, right?

Then if they're not ignoring the person on the other end of the phone, they're walking around the house giving their caller a virtual tour of our home, or better yet, showing them the contents of our pantry. Really? Is this entertaining? And hello?! Could they not give me a heads up on the tour? I could seriously improve the state of our living space with a mere 5 minutes notice. Ugh.

Okay, here's my favorite. And by favorite, you know I mean most annoying, right? It's when one of my daughters sits down at the table to eat a snack with her Face Time friend, while I'm sitting there doing something. Oh. My. WORD. Hang up and call back when you're done eating. Honestly, is it just me, or is this BIZARRE??? Going to lunch with a friend, I get. Eating lunch while your friend watches you on a screen? Sorry, NO.

I obviously have issues, but I can't be the only one who's uncomfortable with this way of communication, right? RIGHT???




Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ode to my Uterus, and other Lady Parts

So I had a hysterectomy last week. How's that for an ice breaker? I suppose I should have discouraged my male readers from reading this post. And yet the title should have given them a clue, am I right? Anyway ...

After several months of pain and excessive, uh, well, let's just say that I was beginning to reeeallly relate to the woman in the Bible with the issue, my doctor ordered an ultrasound and discovered that I had fibroid tumors in my uterus. When I told my husband, he said, "Sooo the woman in the Bible had fibroids?"  YES!! I'll bet she did, bless her heart.

I was then referred to an OB/GYN who asked me, before even giving me my options, what I thought I wanted to do about the situation? I told her that a couple of my friends figured I'd have to have a partial hysterectomy (leaving my ovaries in place.) She asked how I felt about that, and I said I was fine with it, all the while trying not to seem overly excited at the prospect of never having to buy another box of those, as my 10 year old calls them: Bleeding Tubes.

The surgery was scheduled for the week after I returned from my family vacation. It was on this vacation, that I had THE WORST PERIOD to date. It was as if my uterus sensed its impending doom and decided to let me pay with the cramps from HELLO!! I likened it to Satan knowing his time on the earth is short, and so he's pulling out all the stops before Jesus puts him away forever. That's right, I just likened my uterus to SATAN. If I ever felt the need for confirmation as it pertains to having this surgery, I got it. Shoot, I was ready to pull the thing out myself!


It was also on this vacation that my 13 year old daughter came to understand the reason for my excitement over my upcoming operation. When I mentioned that I wouldn't be needing those feminine products after the following week, she said, "Wait. THAT'S what the surgery is for?! NO FAIR!!"  Oh it's fair alright. 30 years of that mess is PLENTY.

6 days before the big day, I received a call from Connie, an RN at the hospital. She wanted to go over pre-op instructions like not eating or drinking past midnight the day before, yada, yada, yada.  My favorite part of the conversation went like this ...

Connie: Okay, and when you arrive that morning, they'll give you a cup for a urine sample to make sure you're not pregnant.

Me: There's NO WAY I'm pregnant, but okay.

Connie: Well, we just have to be sure.

Me:  I understand. Wait. Am I supposed to NOT pee when I wake up that morning? I mean, if I do, I can't drink anything after that, so what if I can't go once I get to the hospital?

Connie: Yes, go ahead and go when you wake up. Don't worry, you'll be SO EXCITED once you arrive at the hospital that you'll WANT to go AGAIN.

We laughed, but guess what? SHE WAS RIGHT. I peed TWICE at the hospital before my surgery. I love you, Connie.

The big day came, and as I was waiting on the gurney in my gown, a very sweet nurse, Rosana, came in and asked me some questions. One of the questions was, "In your own words, tell me what you think you're having done today." I said, "A partial hysterectomy." She said, "And what do you think that means?" I answered, "I'm having my uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes removed, but my ovaries will remain." She said, "Okay, great." Then she went on with some other questions, like if I'd eaten since midnight, etc.

After that, I had to sign some papers acknowledging that I would be sterile after the procedure.

Can I just say, that I've never been so happy to put my name to paper as I was at that moment? NO MORE BIRTH CONTROL NECESSARY. With the exception of the 18 months I was pregnant with my 2 daughters, I've taken birth control pills nearly 20 YEARS!!! GoodNESS, that's a long time to freak out about having a 3rd kid. And you know I freaked out a LOT. Click here for a reminder on just how scared I was to get pregnant a 3rd time.

A few minutes after Rosana left, my doctor came in and talked through what was going to happen during the surgery, all while diagramming it on my abdomen. When my husband saw it later, he said it looked like a play book. Agreed. This "selfie" was taken post surgery, which is why you can see the bruising and laparoscopic incisions.



Alright, so my doctor leaves and a 2nd nurse, the one who will be assisting in the O.R., comes in to ask me the same questions Rosana had asked only minutes before. This nurse, however, had an agenda.

Nurse: Tell me in your own words what you're having done today.

Me: A partial hysterectomy.

Nurse: A what?

Me: A partial hysterectomy.

Nurse: No, you are having a FULL hysterectomy.

Me now worried that she's gonna somehow overtake my doctor in the operating room and yank out my ovaries without my consent: No, I'm having a PARTIAL hysterectomy.

Nurse all condescending like: And just WHAT do you think THAT means exactly?

Me: I'm having my uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes removed. My ovaries will stay in tact.

Nurse chomping at the bit to teach this never-been-to-med-school girl a lesson: A full hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and cervix. YOU are also having your fallopian tubes removed. So you ARE having a FULL hysterectomy. There. Now you've been educated.

Irritated is more like it.

After that, she put something in my I.V., saying it would work pretty quickly.

And 2 minutes later I was in recovery.

Here's what I remember about recovery ... I kept hearing a beeping sound that would then go longer, sounding like I was flat-lining, and a nurse would yell, "Breathe Tamara! Big, deep breath! There you go." This must have happened 10 times if not 100. I also heard a few different medical assistants ask my husband, "Is she always this hard to wake up after surgery?" To which he would reply, "This is her first surgery." So I guess we all now know that I do NOT like waking up after surgery. Oh who am I kidding? We all know that I NEVER like to be awoken, for anything. Hence the need to stop the family reproduction at TWO children.

Another thing I remember was being quite nauseous. Like QUITE nauseous. Bad enough to warrant a shot in my rump to try and control it. GOOD TIMES.

Since I was considered an out-patient, and it was after 5:00 p.m., they were going to send me home whether I decided to fully wake up or not. I remember a nurse, I think it may have been my sweet Rosana, pushing me in a wheelchair out to the car ...

Rosana: Okay Tamara, you're going to have to stand up and open your eyes while you walk to the car.

Me:  Okay.

I stood up and took a few steps.

Rosana:  Are your eyes open Tamara?

Me:  Nope.

Rosana: Open your eyes Tamara.

Me:  Okay.

Did I keep them open? No idea. 

Somehow I got home to my bed, where I proceeded to sleep through the next 3 days, with the exception of dinner time. That's because I have the best friends on the planet who brought my family food!! I get now why this is such a blessing to people on the mend. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!

The first time I woke up at home, I saw this sweet Get Well card from Megan. Of course, I was on pain meds at the time, so all I could focus in on were the boobs in the word soon. I grabbed my chest in a panic, "Good Lord, WHAT surgery did I HAVE?!?!"




Thankfully, my upper half seemed to be the same size post-op. Whew!!

I know this post has gone way too long already, but it's been a couple of months since I've had any time to write. So with this, I'll close ...

The second night I'd been home, our dear friends Rachel and Marshall came over with dinner for us. As only true friends would, they asked Henry if I'd done or said anything embarrassing while coming out of the anesthesia. Henry said, "Well, yeah, actually. She said, 'I'm more tired NOW than I was on our HONEYMOON.'"

Nice, huh?