The March

Published January 22, 2017 by sarcasmica

To be clear, I did not march. I did not have it together enough to go participate. I am so proud of all the people who did, though! Millions and millions of people -women, men, kids, black/white/green/red- all showed a peaceful refusal of accepting this “person” as President of the United States. 

How can someone look at that global turnout and turn a blind eye? How can people look at that unified effort and determination and dismiss it?

I think a lot of people are unclear on the purpose of it. Let me help if I can.

Donald Trump has plainly stated his opinion of women. He places value in boobs and willingness to be silent to abuse. 

Supporting Trump is not a pick and choose option. You cannot dismiss the mocking of a disabled person and say he’d make a good president because he runs a business. (Which requires appreciation and buiding up your employees) 

You cannot endorse a man who does not respect LGBT communities and still expect him to have the best interest of the country at heart. The LGBT community is part of this country. 

There are so very many reasons millions of people went out and marched. No one was whining or crying about injustice. They simply stated it. No one was violent and combative. There were no arrests. No one hurled weapons or destruction. 

It was an enourmous statement that we do not accept a President who does not accept us. 

That is why they are marching. The basic refusal to accept this human as our leader. Im sure if you took a poll of all the protesters you would find a vast array of things they are protesting. It’s that big. It’s not one tidy answer all wrapped in a bow and put on a board. There are many things to disagree with him about but the overall theme is that he wants to diminish the value and power of women, LGBT, lower class, and minorities.

We will endure his presidency, but not willingly and not without an educated, rational, united, peaceful fight. 

For all the women standing up and saying they are not the victims the “snowflakes” are portraying all women to be. For the women in denial about being in control of their bodies and families please stop. Yes it’s important to claim your strength, but that is not what the march is about. Yes you are in control, but what happens when something out of your control happens?! What happens if you are a teenager in Texas who is in a commited relationship and you have no access to birth control because of the governement? 

What happens if you find out your pregnancy is killing you and it is illegal to terminate that pregnancy? What about the women who get the heart-breaking news that the baby they are creating is malformed and will die before or during labor? Regardless of what your choice might be, the government decides how you will handle that. You do not get to choose.

Do you think that woman has a choice to feel independent and empowered and in charge of her life?!

These marches are happening despite your unwillingness to acknowledge the dangerous and lethal decision to put this man in office. 

If you do not agree with 4+ million people peacefully demonsrating maybe you are missing the bigger picture. This is no small feat, and you have to respect whatever brings that many people together with kindness, appreciation, and an open mind. 

This is not about Clinton vs Trump, but let me just say this. If Hillary’s emails that- caused so much uproar- were found to have made porn illegal, or vasectomies illegal what would the result be? If a President made Lorena Bobbitt in charge of men’s health would you stand by and allow it? 

The people who put Trump in office are equally responsible for that insult of the disabled reporter. The people who voted for Trump are equally responsible for the families suffering the loss of a family member due to the loss of their health care. 

There is a bigger picture when millions of people across the planet are unifying in a large scale gesture of refusal. It’s not about one statement or act. It’s about the number of acts and statements that now have the power to make laws and appoint Supreme Court Justices who will make constitutional laws for the future. 

If you dont understand or support the march, fine. Do not diminish the value of the women who have done it. They have the courage and the determination and the enlightenment you refuse to see.

Thank you to everyone who marched. Especially thank you to the women who turned out by the millions. Thank you for not making it about the rage and hurt you feel and turning into something ugly. Thank you for showing the power of grace and unity that is uniquely feminine. 

Armor

Published January 17, 2017 by sarcasmica

We are a video game family. My husband makes them so it’s sort of a requirement. This is aided by the fact we all enjoy them.

I like RPGs. (Role Playing Games) I’ve lost many a personal growth opportunity to playing WoW. (World of Warcraft) I no longer play, but had played since the beta and well into my son’s life. I did not neglect him to play, but let’s just say dirty dishes may have aged and laundry may have walked as a result of my hobby. This game was my first RPG and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wasn’t very good at it, and did not achieve anywhere near maximum level, but I felt it was a respectable character.

I like ranged characters. This means I get to be away from the fray, but still hurl damaging hits from afar. Because I get to hang back, my character only needs light armor. I’m vulnerable to attacks, but I rely on “tanks” to deal with the bad guys up close and personal.

My husband likes to play FPS games. (First Person Shooters) He loves big hulking characters maxed out in armor and giant weapons. He loves running into a mess and tackling things head-on.

My son likes FPS games, but tends to hang back and want to direct. He likes the weapons and the action, but not necessarily up close and personal. His armor is protected. Fighting is sometimes secondary.

My daughter is only 6 so her game library is pretty sparse. She loves playing Minecraft with her brother, but they never play with the monsters on. She has begun to master Mario Kart also – but only if she’s Princess Peach 🙂

What is with the gaming lesson? I have realized we play much like we live. Not with big guns and moon boots and space ship getaways, but with our armor and our plans of attack. I am very passive aggressive. I will do anything to avoid a confrontation. Please do not put me on the spot for a quick decision because it will simply not happen. Need support? I’m your gal. Need advice? Anytime! But direct conflict? No thanks.

My husband is all about confrontation. Clean it up, clear it out, what’s the matter, deal with it. No mess. He is a big personality with big opinions and ideas to back it up.

Together we’ve created this little man. This kid that likes to be in charge, but doesn’t necessarily like conflict. He’s all about safety and rules. Things are black and white and everyone else should absolutely follow the rules.(If he chooses not to, it’s for a very good reason! Duh!)

So here I am sitting at my computer trying to work out a problem. My son has a villain. A nemesis. An enemy. This kid has been a problem since 4th grade. I don’t like using the term “bully” as that should be reserved for actual physical threats, abuse, intimidation, etc. The jerk in my son’s class is just that. A jerk. A now 5th grade jock brat. This kid is bigger than most kids in the class and has the psychological back up of a teacher mom. A teacher at the same school, no less. He has a nearly impenetrable invisible armor. … nearly.

Last year the harassment began. Slight things. Big brother annoying things. This kid is not my son’s big brother, however, and that crap will simply not fly. I brought this all to the teacher’s attention.

Things escalated and nothing was being done. I found out my kid was not the only one being harassed. By the Spring there was a playground incident where my kid was shoved by Jerk Boy and I took it to the principal and called out the fact that just because Jerk Boy had a Teacher Mom, I did not appreciate the staff turning a blind eye to the treatment of my kid.

Surprise! Things were corrected. The Teacher Mom literally refused to make eye contact with me after that (and still wont look at me at pick up) but who cares? I just wanted my son safe at school. He had enough to deal with from being behind by an entire grade level and was working through finding a good medication for his ADHD. Also we were new to the school, and a lot of the kids knew each other so my son had to jump in and make friends from scratch.

After making a huge deal about everything, the antagonizing and overall jerkdom ceased. This year we found out they would be in the same class again and worried a bit, but the year began with no issues. … until recently. My son told me last night that Jerk Boy had been resurrected and he was starting again.

Kids have a way of making you grow. Unless you are just unable to pay attention and parent, you kind of have to grow and change as they do. I was a very naive parent in thinking if I could just keep them alive until Elementary School, things would be cake!

HA!! HAHAHAHhahahahhaAAAAAAAA

Dumbass. It just gets more complicated. At school you have a big giant pool of all kinds of small humans from all kinds of big human lives/situations/circumstances and the big humans in charge also come in a wide array of Human.

Spoiler alert: Some asshole grown ups make asshole kids. I strive not to associate with either.

So I’ve become more aggressive in my tactics with dealing with these situations. I cannot send in my tank husband to bash through the administration office. I am the face they are used to seeing. They know me from the IEP meetings and they know i’m not an asshole ( i hope!) But now they know I can be one if someone is choosing to overlook my son’s treatment simply because they are friends with his Villain’s mother.

Kids suck. School is hard. Armor is required! I had big brothers so my combat training was extensive before elementary school. Teasing and name calling was not something that concerned me. I am thankful my family has always been brutally honest about everything. Don’t feel good? Take medicine. In pain? Lose weight, fat ass! Hungry at lunch time? Pack  your own damn lunch! Failing a subject? Do the damn homework!

This made adulting slightly more doable. Cynical and intolerant? That’s just back up armor.

I am a firm believer that kids should not be sheltered from life’s harshness. I DO believe it makes for better adults. Having said that, there are levels of tolerance. My kid is a sensitive boy not because he is coddled or enabled. He is sensitive because he is dealing with a lot of factors. He does not go to school, sit at a desk, listen to the teacher, follow the directions, play at recess and come home. My daughter is able to do all of that, and is mastering it in Kindergarten. My son, however, literally cannot. He goes to school after getting up from a restless night of intermittent sleep. He deals with ten channels going on in his brain as he tries to focus on getting the toothpaste on the brush …. if he decides to actually brush instead of just trying to convince me that it happened. He manages whatever clothes he likes despite being able to identify colors, fights through the lack of impulse control to jump scare his little sister every chance he gets. When he makes it to breakfast, he takes medicine that will eventually kick in – hopefully by the time he sits at his classroom desk – eats what he can before his body is no longer interested in food. He then wades through the noise of a morning house, his brain noise, and whatever duties he needs to complete before configuring all the items needed to leave the house.

It would be nice if school was the beginning of his brain activity for the day, but it’s not. When you add to that the stress of a Jerkwad who is seemingly protected by an invisibility cloak in the form of a mother who is a well-liked teacher at the same school it adds complication to your day. It’s a distraction! My kid has managed to jump an entire grade level in Math and Writing. That’s epic! That is huge and I would hate for that achievement to get diminished and jeopardized because he’s trying to figure out avoidance and exit strategies.

Let’s just make kind reasonable people, ok? And if you are afraid you are one of the asshole parents mentioned, you probably are. That’s ok! There’s help! Just stop being an asshole. Attempt to open your mind to another perspective. Start small. That checker who never smiles at the grocery store? Maybe it’s not you, maybe he/she has something really hard to deal with like a sick family member. Be nice anyway. There’s hope! I used to be an asshole, and my kids have convinced me to change… and they are worth it because they’re pretty awesome.

At the end of the day we all want to be able to take off our armor, sit at a table and chow down on a turkey leg.

Just be kind.

 

Convos With My Kid

Published January 8, 2017 by sarcasmica

I’ve told this story out loud to a few friends, but I realize I better “write it down” before it’s completely lost in the ether and out of my brain forever.

The day after Christmas I took my son to Target to use a gift card
(Side note: Never rush to Target the day after Christmas in the hopes of finding anything on the shelf. It was and empty anti climactic exercise in futility)

Anyway, on the drive my son asks “Mom, why does the Christmas song say ‘you better not pout, you better not cry’? What’s so wrong with crying?”

Me in my head: Wow. Did that just come from my 10 year old? Ok, don’t eff this up, woman. Wake up! Answer the boy!
“Well that’s a really old song. Up until fairly recently the general consensus was that children should be seen and not heard. If a kid was crying, grown ups didn’t want to hear it. This was the case when I was a kid, too.”

Kid: “Hmm.. that seems really sad because then kids must have felt they couldn’t just be themselves.”

Me: “You’re right, that is pretty sad. Parents talking to their kids and asking about feelings and having conversations about what you want and feel is a fairly new concept, buddy. Do you think Grandma talked to me about feelings?”

“Uhh, no.”

“Because there weren’t open honest conversations, lots and lots of people grew up not talking about certain things because they didn’t want to make their parents angry. They had to hold in a lot of things. Think about all those kids who knew they were gay but couldn’t tell or were afraid to tell their families. There were a lot of kids who got kicked out of their house, people whose parents stopped speaking to them.”

“That’s really sad, mom. That must’ve been terrible for those kids. I can’t even imagine that.”

We went on to talk about why calling people ‘gay’ as a negative thing is not acceptable because of how brave and courageous people actually are. We also talked about how stifling these kinds of conversations can be and what it can lead to – depression, running away, etc etc.

Then my son asks, “Mom, so how were you able to be a different mom than your mom was?”

“Well, I took the things that I thought were really great and tried to do that, and the things I wanted to change for you and your sister I changed.”

“Mom, I’m really glad you changed some things.”

“Thanks, buddy. I’m glad I did too because we get to talk about this kind of stuff.”

And my mom heart yet again grew three sizes. This boy surprises me, challenges me and my patience, but his brain is a wonderful thing. Some say his challenges make our life hard and I have been known to call him ‘difficult’ and he is. But it’s moments like these that remind me it’s for a reason. Kids can be amazing.

It took taking a class to open my eyes to the need of communicating with my kids. While I can certainly appreciate the ‘seen and not heard’ mentality so much gets lost with that. I’ve been able to help my kid understand his body and mind better because we have conversations when lots of people think he should be left in a time out and ignored because “that’s the consequence”. I think this is especially necessary for kids with challenges and issues. My kid knows he has ADD, but he knows what that means. He takes medication for it, but he knows why, and he is part of the team that made the decision to do it.

Time outs and consequences do have their place, but only if you remember to help your kid through their feelings. Feelings are confusing and frustrating and hard to manage. Without a road map, how would anyone get anywhere? Think about how many adults are in counseling to handle feelings. I wonder what that looks like if you’re given some guidance early on as a lot of those feelings are forming. I am sure to be open about my own feelings in front of my kids. Do they make me cry with frustration and anger sometimes? Hell yes. Do I hide that? Hell no. “This is what it looks like when you treat people that way.” Do my husband and I have arguments? Yes. Do we still love each other? Yes. Is it okay to have different ideas and opinions and still have a great relationship with someone? Yes. I like to think my kids have seen this.

In the same way we show happiness and love, we also have to show anger and sadness. We have to be honest about being confused. We have to let them know mistakes are not exclusively a kid thing. There’s no shame in showing the kids your cracks…. wait, that came out totally wrong. Please don’t show children your crack. DO show them that your armor isn’t impenetrable. Strength is only dependable when you see what it grew from. Also, they know when you’re faking it. Don’t you remember being a kid and having to endure one of the countless “How is school going?” conversations and just knowing the grown ups that were faking it? Our own children are even smarter than we were, so give them credit for it.

Just remember, if all goes according to plan, these are the people that are making the decisions about your care and treatment when you’re an old fart. They will have their fingers on the cord when the doctor asks if it’s time to pull it.

(A note to my mother who I know reads this blog: This is in no way a knock on your parenting. You did what you knew how to do and I certainly do not find fault in the lack of “feelings talk”)  🙂

 

Orthodementia

Published January 5, 2017 by sarcasmica

Never commit to an elderly orthodontist who is obviously well into his retirement years. 

You would think this would be common sense,  but apparently I like a challenge.

It wasnt worth it.

Our ortho is the same my son had. They think it’s helpful, fun & undoubtedly profitable to treat the adults of the kids that make up the primary part of their practice. 

Being as how my son’s orthodontia was pretty routine, the techs did 90% of the work and they were all spry and fun and professional. 

For me, however, i’m just a giant disaster riding in on a unicycle. Baby teeth, bite issues, it’s a frigging mess.

Unlike my son, I require much more coaching and guidance from the Old Doc to the techs.

This is quite unfortunate as I discovered today the heavy metal sharp tools that are weilded by orthodontic hellions are more precise and effective in non-arthritic hands.

The slice in my gum tells me so.

Also, it was quite interesting to have to remind the guy getting a large sum of money every month for this corrective torture that I still do in fact possess the devices he insisted I implant into my face for said correction. To be fair, 2 came out in an infected haze but I still have the other two- as told repeatedly to the office.

Today: “So when are we going to start using the TADs? I’d like it to be worth the pain of having them put in at least.”

Tech- “let me check with the doctor”

Senile Orthodontist: “Oh! I forgot about those! They are really hidden up there!”

And he then proceeds to connect painfully thin bands from the recesses of my molars up to the top of my gum.

“SNAP!”

SO to tech: “Hey, i got it.”

That meant I get not only the fun experience of his big clumsy hands on giant sharp metal tools in my mouth but in cutting a band he also cut my gum.

We also then discovered my wire was not even fully inserted and anchored on one side of my mouth!

FML quite literally.

Beware young chubs, this is how the universe corrects your terrible eating habits if you dont before you hit 40! 

Break Free!

Published January 3, 2017 by sarcasmica

Dear Teachers of My Little Angels,

I tried. I really did, I swear. I tried really hard to prepare them for going back to school today. I even began prep last night.

7:45 Tuck everyone in. Everyone was bathed, storied, brushed, loved, and hugged.

7:49 Girl child comes downstairs claiming headache and inability to fall asleep
7:51 After list of complaints, hugs and stern “Good. Night.” was given

10:30 Surprise! The boy child is still reading. but he was reading, so that’s allowed, right? At least, this is what he tells me.

10:35 Lights out, happy sounds on to lull overachieving reader to sleep
10:36 “Mom. mooooooom. MOM”
10:37 Swallow fury and exhaustion and sternly correct all imperfections in sheets, blankets, hair, eyebrows, elbows. “Good. NIGHT.”

This brings us to this morning. I swear I tried! I did! I got up, made a hot breakfast for my little geniuses to have proper fuel for the glorious school return.

Fail.

Kids got lost in the bathroom, they forgot how to open drawers to find socks. They failed to operate spoons and cereal bowls, they were unable to locate both shoes.

On top of all of the joyous regular needs of school children, it was 18 degrees outside so we then had to operate jackets AND gloves. Pants AND boots. Scarves AND hair. It was mayhem.

And because I was busy showing/teaching/coaching/yelling directions, I failed in my own duties to foresee the ice covering my windshield. Getting all children out the door without death threats was a bonus, but sitting in the front seat staring at an iced over windshield was my undoing, Teach.

I scraped and cussed as the first bell rang.

The upside is that they were delivered with all appropriate cold weather fixes so they do not return from recess frozen kidsicles. The downside is that they will most likely forget at least two items of wardrobe either in the class before going outside, or just leaving them on the playground.

But I did what I could. It was all I could do not to drive immediately to the airport afterwards and head to California where there is family that would feed and water me, and a beach to soothe my mom-drenched, care-taker emptied soul.

So on the bright side, I WILL be there to pick them up this afternoon. .. i think … right after I check alaskaair.com.

Sincerely,

An appreciative and apologetic mom

P.S. I’d like it noted in my file that I made a hot breakfast AND made lunches. Lunches that did not include cheetohs or chocolate or fish. Although, my son did take a PB&J which I realize is virtually declaring war on the PTA. For this, I apologize but it appears my maid neglected to make it to the grocery store before today. She will swiftly be flogged and fired.

New Shmoo

Published January 1, 2017 by sarcasmica

I have been absent for a while. It would seem failing at the craft fair has sent me into hiding out of embarrassment and frustration, but sadly that is not the case. Nope, I have just become a care giver to my post op husband.

Imma let that sink in.

You know how there’s a whole honest truth to the whole “Man Cold” thing? Well imagine that after surgery. Go ahead… i’ll wait.

I love my husband. I do.

(this is not a statement as much as a mantra I have been  repeating since the surgery)

Between a husband home and immobile after surgery and two kids home on winter break, and preparing for Christmas and decorating it’s safe to say I’m a few fries short of a happy meal right now.

I am counting down to Tuesday when at least the kids will be out of the house for hours at a time in a safe place where I do not have to manage them, their behavior, their bickering and fighting, their “nuh -uh, that’s not right it’s THIS way!” and dietary demands.

The other reality that has been fairly entertaining with a smidge of annoyance is the dawning of my reality on my husband. He’s not been around the kids for this many consecutive hours ever. Like, ever. And one of the kids has a cold!

He has no escape. He cannot wheel himself on his knee scooter down the stairs to escape. … well, he could if he had the right incentive, I suppose. There is no driving to the office to a last minute meeting. Also there’s a whole fun game of “stop interrupting when i’m talking to mom”

The kids don’t like sharing my attention anymore than I like dividing it up while explaining to all parties how to manage their individual frustrations.

and then I go smoke a cigarette.

Just kidding, I drink heavily.

No, that’s not right either. See, if I drank, then who would drive my husband to the ER in the event of an emergency? Not the 10 year old.

“So, Sarcasmica, how do you handle all that bottled up frustration and energy?”

I tell myself many other people have it much much worse. There are countless women out there taking care of sick kids, terminal family members, managing their own jobs and armies of medical professionals who are necessary for every day life.

Me, I just have to manage my entire family being home for two weeks while my husband recovers from foot surgery and is living in the world’s smelliest boot, rolling around the house dodging dogs and kids, and living in a hospital bed in the middle of our dining room-turned office-turned apartment.

So new year, at this point my only resolution is to keep my children alive to drop them off at school on January 3. Think I can make it? I’m not so sure!

Taking care of another adult has been quite eye-opening. For one it’s made me understand in our old age we better live in assisted living because there is no way in hell I am helping with bathroom duties… doodies… hehehehee

I can’t. It seems I don’t have it in me.

I was raised extremely independent. I am quite happy managing myself, taking care of myself, medicating myself. At this point I’m training my children for college independence and their only 6 and 10. “Make your own breakfast, bring down your laundry, start the car, take the meatloaf out of the oven.”

Kidding, but that’s my parenting goal. Self-sufficiency.

So now to have a grown ass person asking me to pick up a remote and hand it to him. Make a sandwich. Don’t forget to put on the mustard. Bring me a pillow for my foot, but not that one or that one… or that one. No not that direction, face it the other way. But don’t forget to position the corners like this.

It’s all I can do not to explode, people. And it’s not his fault. It’s not. He can’t help being an invalid giant child. I’d be miserable if I were solely dependent on another person to take care of me. He’s actually been in great spirits…. but being waited on hand and foot does have it’s perks come to think of it…

Funnily enough it’s not that i’m managing more around the house with him out of commission, either. Shocking spoiler alert: the trash is still being taken out like always, the dishes and laundry still get done without hiccups, and food gets put on the table like always.

“But how can that be?!?!”

strange, right?

This whole thing has been an exercise in patience, sympathy, patience, unselfishness, compassion and patience. I’ve swallowed so many comments and held back so many eye-rolls that I’m dangerously close to becoming a grown up. It’s terrifying!!!

 

 

 

Sand Head

Published December 14, 2016 by sarcasmica

This time of year is hard for lots of people. For me it’s a time of remembering losing my dad. It’s been 15 years.

Somehow I’m old enough to have missed my dad for the last fifteen years. This does not compute. It’s always a routine of “this time ___ years ago…” but this year I just allowed myself to keep busy. I should know by now this doesn’t work, but there’s not consistency to grief. Grief decides when you will pay attention to it, not you.

My husband has a surgery scheduled for tomorrow. He’s going to be laid up for quite some time. Because of this we have been getting rooms ready, houses ready, prep, prep and more prep. In the back of my mind I was keeping an eye on dates and potential gloom, but I wasn’t allowing it in.

I should know by now that this always finds a way out. Sadness, loss, grief, tears, sorrow, it all has it’s own path. You can pave that path, or it can tear through like a flash flood or a tsunami. Today was more of a heavy downpour. Today it all burst through the damn of tunnel vision.

The morning was rushed, a child took my breakfast which I then replaced just to hear the stolen meal was not delicious enough (most likely because I hadn’t had a chance to even take a bite of it yet) and more than half was thrown away.

This did not do it.

The morning chant of “Shoes shoes shoes” was performed, the backpack replay was sung, the MOVE IT remix was done. After getting out the door late with a failed attempt at hair decorations for my daughter and ponytail complaints we load up into the car already late to find an iced over windshield and no scraper…. that scraper WAS in the car before all the prep for the surgery was done and now where is it? In the garage.

After scraping, driving, dropping off, I head to my volunteer gig. On the way I replay the morning – as usual – and all the petty things come into my mind. Was I calm and loving with my kids? No. Was I patient? No. Did I offer my gloves to my daughter who wailed about forgetting hers? No.

There were reasons for all of those “No”s, but did they matter? Not while I was alone driving to my thing. I couldn’t help but feel a pang for all the parents who lost their babies four years ago in the Newtown tragedy. Loss. Regrets. Pain and anguish. It finds a way out.

I reflected on how grumpy i’ve been with my husband while we prepare for this shift. It’s not his fault, but things are going undone and being left for me while he gets his ducks in a row. It’s completely understandable, but I still feel the way I feel regardless.

I was too dented at this point not to let the recognition of the loss of my dad resonate a little off of my brain. .. so I just let it. I cried for how much I miss him … again. I cried for him missing his grandson’s Winter Concert. My son looked so handsome and proud in that suit, my dad would have loved to have seen it.

So today it all came crashing and tumbling down regardless of the other stuff that was happening. (like driving!)

It gets easier, but it doesn’t suck any less. It just sucks for a shorter time when it happens… and honestly it does happen less often.

So here we are again saying goodbye. I miss you dad.

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