Dipping Back In The Work Pool

Published June 20, 2018 by sarcasmica

I had a life before kids, like most folks. Through a series of frantic, chaotic, not always in my control events, I stopped work to be a stay at home mom and traveling wife. I loved working as much as a non-millionaire employee could love work. I loved my co-workers. I loved the challenge my job provided. I was on the verge of meeting new challenges and changing levels when we abruptly had to move to another state at the beginning of the second semester when my son was 2.

I was an educational interpreter in an elementary school. I had good days and bad days. I had people I had to work with professionally that I’d rather punch in the throat, like most jobs, but overall it was amazing. It was always different, but it was consistent. Anyone who works with school age kids can probably agree that it is controlled chaos on a daily schedule. Add to that the comedy of being in a very niche position, and there were all kinds of hijinks to keep me entertained.

After settling into our first move, I actually applied for an interpreting job and was offered a position. After paying for the background check and TB test, my husband got an offer in yet another state. We moved again. After that I vowed not to attempt work until we were for sure settled somewhere. Leaving the comfy work environment I had in Arizona was very hard and it took me a very long time to let go of the expectations of being a SAHM and just missing my life.

A bajillion moves and ten years later (holy shit, how has it been an entire decade?!!?) I have tossed my resume back into the ether.

I am terrified I will get called into a job.

This is more of an agency hiring scenario. I’d be an agency employee instead of a school district employee. At this point, I understand that far easier than understanding sign language.

EEK!!

I could say this whole time I’ve been keeping my skills razor sharp with workshops and videos, but that would make me a big fat liar pants. I’ve done zilch. I’ve watched videos here and there and have used the captions. … then go back and watch the signs and have a false sense of “oh, yea, totally got that. yup.”.

I have committed out loud to a workshop four hours away. I wouldn’t recommend immersion with professionals is the best way to brush up on a language, but oh well. I’m a non-conformist.

It’s getting down to the wire and I’m having to book my trip for this workshop and I just find myself looking for any and every distraction possible. I have filled an Amazon Fresh order, written a blog post and made chocolate chip cupcakes. Any and all distractions welcome just to not have to face this tremendous nerve-wracking trip. I keep telling myself I’m a bad ass because i’m going alone…. when in reality I am feeling like a big wuss. I don’t wanna go. Ironically, I want to go with an interpreter because I know i’m not going to catch everything. Hell, i’ll be lucky to understand 25% of the workshops i’m going to!

I have 22 days to pull my shit together. The kids on summer break are not a great asset at this point. Still, I have to do it or I am convinced my brain will turn to mush if I don’t get back to work and start using my grown up words and thoughts on a daily basis.

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Celebrate

Published June 15, 2018 by sarcasmica

This is gonna be a long one. It’s going to be rambly, too.

So here we are. My son graduated from elementary school last night. WE graduated from elementary school last night. Yesterday was his celebration, today is mine. That’s right, I am celebrating all the shit that goes along with being a stay at home mom across four elementary schools, 2 states, four cities, 2 years in occupational therapy, one fizzled out fencing, robotics, band, and countless IEPs and playdates.

WE did it. The staff that was involved gets summer break, I get this post… and the pizza I am about to order. No shame here, just relief mixed with emotional overload. Some call it a breakdown, I call it the last Friday of the school year.

Added to the relief of school being over, he turned 12 last week. Twelve. Firmly into tweendom. Some fun quotes from the week:

him: “Mom, how old do I have to be to say bad words?”
me: “I’m 41 and still barely cuss in front of my mother. You figure it out.”
him: “Ok. So i’m almost 12, and that means I can say ‘ass’.”
me: “No. No it doesn’t.”
him: “Well, i’m gonna start saying it on Friday because it’s my birthday and i’ll be 12 and that is old enough, mom.”

When I was 15 I asked my oldest brother if I could start cussing…. since he was the one I learned most of the colorful vocabulary from, it seemed fitting. He punched me in the arm and said, “That’s for just thinking about it.” I decided to go a tad easier on my kid. .. still a “no”, though.

In the background my daughter has completed first grade with flying colors. I have to tell myself to recognize her effortless achievement because it is still valuable. She loves school and has blossomed with friends and work and teachers. It still matters and it is still work for her, it just doesn’t require a team of people. I sometimes need reminding of that.

When you have your babies, everyone loves to tell you to savor it. “Enjoy it, you have no idea how fast it goes.”  “Relish this time with your baby, before long they will be in school.”

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11 days in

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My son just before going into a shaping helmet

 

I used to say hopefully, “Really? Here’s hoping!” because babies are not easy…. the trick is, you don’t know how easy it is until they get older. I mean sure, the whole “keep them alive” thing is mega stressful when they are limp little meatloaves, but how interactive is their life? Not very. They sit where you put them, they poop and piss their diaper and it doesn’t even always require immediate clean up! Sure they suck your brain cells and sanity slowly on a nightly sleep-deprived basis, but you really aren’t expected to be a fully functioning human being before they reach three months. They don’t talk. They don’t argue with their siblings. They don’t even eat yet, so no dishes are involved! (except maybe for bottle duty which is sort of a pain)

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The elusive Sleepicus Newbornium

New parents are fun to watch. .. once you’re on the other side, of course. It’s fun because they have no idea how easy the initiation really is compared to the rest of that kid’s life.

I used to think once I got them to school I could hand off a lot of the stress and work. Once they’re in school, surely a parent’s life gets easier, right?!!

*record scratch*

No. Not for my first kid, anyway. School equaled lots and lots of work for me. It was a little work for him, which translated into a mountain of work for me.

We did this at four different schools. Getting to know layouts, teachers, teams, administrators, parents, schedules, cafeteria standards, holiday breaks, new friends. My son has started over four times and he’s just now graduating from elementary school.

When you ask him, of course he’s ready to leave for middle school. The first thing he will tell you, though, is that he is going to miss having a recess and he is dreading, absolutely dreading math. He’s not half bad at it, either, that’s the kicker!

So here I sit and sigh looking back over the last 12 years of life with my oldest. I try not to look too far into the future, because that’s where panic lives. My son, while waiting for an Amazon package containing the choice of some very valuable gift cards, said “Mom, ‘now’ is the least amount of time we have. You can’t spend all your time looking in the past because there’s nothing to be done about it. You can’t spend all your time waiting for what’s coming because then it’s here and that’s all you have. Now is really important and we shouldn’t waste it.”

(I’m paraphrasing, of course, but that was the jist)

With those words, I try to value each tuck in at bedtime with him because what 14 year old wants his mom to tuck him in? Sure we’ll hopefully continue to have deep and meaningful conversations, but soon those will involve friend drama and – dare I say – girls (blech) but right now it’s just about the end of school, his best friend moving away at the end of the summer, his favorite new song, and minutiae of individual days. I know that I will blink and he’ll be in high school stressing about finals and dances. And I’ll be stressed out about texting and driving and drugs and sex. But that is for another day. Today I want to enjoy his face when he gets off the bus with his little sister for almost the last time as they will no longer ever be at the same school at the same time. My babies are both growing up, but that doesn’t mean I’m getting older, right?!

I’m doing my best to look forward to summer. His summer before junior high. My daughter’s summer before second grade. My summer before (hopefully) going back to work. This time is precious with them as I fully know there are lots of parents who don’t have the option for it. …. and who also hopefully know how much work it is for us who stay home in the tornado.

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Another candle

Published June 10, 2018 by sarcasmica

My oldest is a year older. He’s 12! I’m also going to be bold and say he’s a momma’s boy. That’s right! I earned that, people. Blood, sweat, tears and many gray hairs have nurtured that boy this far.

Kids are hard work. Some kids are fucking overtime with no pay. This child was damn near close.

Of course it’s worth it, blah blah blah, but I am happy to see 12, y’all. It might be the vodka talking, but I have reached the stage where I am leaning with one elbow on the bar, hair flopped down in my face, makeup smudged under both eyes and the only lipstick left is on my teeth and on the straw of my overly sweet cocktail if parenting was a bar.

I have the other kid coming up behind at 7 years old challenging all of my patience. Number one threatens my sanity, but number two is working my patience like a teacher in June.

I just survived the birthday party. We had 5 11/12 year old boys at the house for 4.5 hours. They played with nerf guns, we had one face shot at point blank range (thankfully only 1) and then we had them play a linked up co-op type game across a few xboxes.

They all got along splendidly…minus the headshot. They ate, they partied, they gamed, then eventually left.

My ears are still ringing.

I must say thus far my son has shown pretty good taste in friendships. Who knows how they’ll actually turn out, but we have plenty of animals and I detected zero urges for animal sacrifice. We had lots of pleases& thank yous and no one threatened fisticuffs.

All in all a great day.

Now I get to look forward to the final days of school and the deep chasm of summer break.

Keep that vodka comin, barkeep!

Like Sands Through The Hourglass…

Published May 16, 2018 by sarcasmica

So are the days with our kids.

That’s what everyone likes to say. Hell, I say it to new moms. It’s unavoidable and it’s all true. It’s true that when you are on the other side, time has flown. It’s also painfully true when you are in the thick of it, time stands still some days. It’s all correct.

My son is on his 6th grade camping trip. This is day #1. He is also turning 12 in less than a month. These milestones echo the countdown of adulthood. Moms of boys graduating high school this month are sure to “tsk” me and tell me how fast it all goes by and to cherish it.  Right now I can’t imagine it going any faster.

I don’t know if it’s because he’s my first, my most challenging, my most colorful, but his infancy, toddlerdom and elementary ages were painfully slow. Painfully.     S   l   o   w    . I’ve blogged/complained/bitched/moaned enough about the trials and tribulations. Very little was exaggerated. I knew nothing about how to raise this child until I was raising this child. We learned and figured most of it out together. What I didn’t know, I faked pretty terribly. I feel like his whole life aside from, you know, keeping him alive, I’ve been waiting for him to grow into himself. He was not a baby who enjoyed being a baby like his sister. He was not a toddler who managed his world. He did not tackle boyhood with fervor and tenacity. It was more triggers and anxiety. Colic and helmets. Physical therapy and occupational therapy. Medication and testing. IEPs and sensory challenges.

Finally, at long long last, my kid has become who he is. This sounds completely insane, but I’m curious if other moms out there understand this at all. My son was always somehow both emotionally far beyond his brain and miles behind his emotions. His reasoning was miles kilometers ahead of his age at the same time he also managed to be underdeveloped with his feelings.

Now he has arrived at himself. Things make sense for him. He is the closest to emotionally mature a 12 year old male human can be. He’s not a breath away from drowning anymore, he’s actually paddling the raft…. sometimes in circles. Sometimes the oar isn’t in the water, but he is controlling his own trajectory. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch. It’s still scary and new and unsure at times, but it is so cool to see him as the whole picture and get glimpses of how the future might be for him.

For the new moms out there, don’t be too hard on us when we tell you how fast it goes. We say it with the understanding of how slow it is for you right now. We wont take it personally when you scoff at our cliche sentiments, I promise 🙂

Chu Chu Chu Changes

Published May 1, 2018 by sarcasmica

I haven’t been writing much lately. Too many people I know read this, I think. I’m much more comfortable voicing how I feel about you when you can’t really hear it. I’m in the  passive aggressive subspecies of homosapien. We aren’t so good at the face to face stuff.

Anyway, some changes have been happening ’round here. Firstly, and foremostly, I got my braces off yesterday. HUZZAH! Remember all the whiny moaning entries about my teeth drama? No? I don’t blame you, I probably wouldn’t read someone else’s self-indulgent bitching either …. (but then what blog isn’t just that?) Well half the battle is won. The stupidmotherfuckinggoddamned braces are no longer. No more wires cutting into my gums/cheeks/lips. No more vice-tight teeth preventing my number one hobby-eating all the things. No more TADs breaking out of my jaw bone. (who remembers that little diddy?) No more biting my own damned mouth, resulting in subsequent bites because of swollen tissue.

Just happiness is what i’m saying. It’s all just happiness. The removal was less than I was anticipating. That was great. So great, in fact, my mouth decided to process for an entire day before it really decided it wasn’t happy. It seems the wrenching off the brackets off of the glue that attached them to my teeth did a number on said teeth.

To celebrate the 2 years of pain and agony, the orthodontist gives the newly slime-teethed a giant candy basket to celebrate! It is chock full of gummies and sticky candy galore. It made me wonder if he is married to a doctor that gives a discount for treating diabetes. .. or a dentist.

My kids were happy, regardless, and my son was a bit prickly that he did not receive such treasure when he got out of his braces. I reminded him where this all began – with the impulsively retired orthodontist he had who went out with a dementia bang.

I offered him to go back into braces to get the reward and he declined.

Also this month, my 2.5 year stint volunteering with man eating dinosaurs is coming to an end. I began in August 2016 volunteering twice a week to feed and clean at a parrot sanctuary with nearly 300 birds. That gig was the start of many amazing things for me for which I will always be thankful. I have always always always wanted to work with animals. Truth be told, in that dreamworld I would get paid for the work, but whatevs. I compromised and volunteered instead. The experience has been priceless. The bites have been memorable. The friends made have been unexpected. The growth and lessons for myself have been lifelong. I will still support them by taking photos and helping out with the Instagram account ( @zazushousesanctuary if you’re interested!) but my weekly obligation has been worn out. I feel like I can’t honestly say why because as stated before, too many people have access and i’d hate for there to be any blow back for my reasons. Let’s just say it stopped being a fun side gig and started becoming an unappreciated obligation by more than one party.

I will miss the birds, but I’ll be able to go and hang out with them simply to catch some hopefully great photos.

The next order of change on the docket is my child. Someone went and told my son that growing up shall commence. He will be done with elementary school in less than two months and he will be on to junior high school.

Holy hell, how did that happen?!

I’ll tell you how; with a lot of grief, struggle, tears, alcohol, diapers, helmets, braces, expanders, medication, IEP meetings, fencing, love, pride, and trumpets.

Honestly I’d love to be one of those parents who is like, “Wow, where did the time go?” But really I can give a detailed account of just where all that time went and it’s all marked by my well-covered gray hairs. Truthfully. I love this kid like nerds love dragons, (moms love yoga pants/teachers love medication/dads love bathroom screen time) but the time has by no means gone unmarked.

I have been in the moment with this kid since the beginning and sometimes I feel like he should actually be entering college by now, but no. We are simply staring down 7th grade. I’m excited for him. He has grown into a great kid. He has been a late bloomer what with his asshole parents moving him all over the damn western half of this country his entire life. I have earned every single nearly all of these grays. I take full responsibility. But I’m happy to report that he will be sent off to junior high with confidence, integrity, strength of character, some bad habits, and a lot of love.

The last change is making the choice to go back to work. Granted, the hiring deities are really the ones making the choice, but I’ve thrown my resume in the ring, so to speak. It’s been over 9 years since I was an educational interpreter. It’s scary to pick up my hands and entertain the idea of being the responsible party for a deaf kid to have equal accessibility to a classroom. A lot of the language has gone bye bye, but I’m gonna choose to believe it will magically flood back into my brain with the exposure of a workshop and some youtube videos. Sign language is like any language… difficult to maintain when not in use. Unlike other languages, it’s a bit hard to find signing practice partners.

So that’s the update for now… kids are around, homework needs doing and those cocktails wont mix themselves.

Yoga Awakening

Published April 16, 2018 by sarcasmica

A friend invited me to an 8:30am yoga class.

Cruel, right? Like are we really even friends, Becky? Is there coffee or bacon at “yoga”? What are you doing to me?

My plan was to immediately accept before thinking through the logistics. That way I was committed. Also, the timing worked perfect after dropping the maniacs kids off at school, so why not?

So I dust off my heretofore lounge pants a.k.a. yoga pants and tell them this is their moment. Right here, right now their destiny will be realized. .. and then I prayed the seams would hold.

I show up and immediately announce my noobness in using the YMCA facility mat. The stranger-sweat-on rubber washcloth that is supposed to protect my rhinoceros knees from the hardwood floors of the workout room. I doubled up.

So there I am, ready to meditate through my sweat and the instructor shows up. Now I’m not saying you should judge a book by it’s cover, but let’s just say I was surprised that our yoga instructor looked like a carbon copy of me fresh after the doughnut line. I was certain I could do this…. full disclosure: I have taken a few yoga classes here and there sprinkled through the last ten years of my life.

So we get started. First pose: Child’s pose. I thought this was hand on hip, scowl on face, and whining about how hungry I am for anything but what’s provided.

Wrong. Reality: Face down on stranger sweat mat, knees crushing into the floor and spread apart.

“Don’t fart don’t fart!”

“Now breathe”

One pose led to another and before long I was breaking a sweat. From holding poses!

The one she lost me on, however, was the downward dog. It’s not that I can’t do it, but my wrists were not having it. From DD we went down to a plank and then to “Baby cobra” pose.

I was imagining pirates and snake-filled islands as my brain was screaming, “What the fuck are you doing?!”

Eventually I had to just give up on the constant pressure on my wrists and stand there like the shamed noob that I am. I was ok with that. This was the well-practiced “Awkward Wait It Out” pose I have excelled at lo these many years.

We finally get through all the warrior poses and archery poses and reach for the sky poses and we get to sit down again. THIS I can handle. Me and my doubled up funk mats were more than prepared for whatever came from these exercises.

Then every rude, judgemental, mean thought I have ever had for a fellow Lane Giant shopper smacked me in my sweaty flushed face. As we sit, the instructor – with grace and control, mind you – demonstrates the incredibly difficult double knee-into-chest grab, then extends her legs off the ground in front of her with her arms outstretched beside her legs.

There was no huffing or puffing. In fact she continued to call out the insanely complex Twister moves we are supposed to be hitting as she was transitioning her own body.

I assumed the Eat Crow position as I sat there barely executing 1/4 of the poses asked of the class in that moment.

As we were moving on to other leg twisting, spine stretching, floor laying poses I found myself going back to two thoughts. 1. Kick ass women come in all shapes and sizes. 2. I could sweat and stretch my ass off daily and I’ll still look like a lumberjack?! What’s the point?! (yes, i know. strength and health are the point, blah blah blah)

As we finished breathing and laying on the rock hard floor listening to the combination meditation/therapy session I realize I have a long way to go in mind and body.

Then I went to the grocery store and bought all the yummy things! … but made sure to pepper my snacking with an orange. See? Growth!

Namaste

Making A Little Sense

Published March 20, 2018 by sarcasmica

Like many parents, I imagine, I get emotionally riled up after hearing about school shootings. I’d like to think that any human being would, and especially if you have children attending school.

Sadly, there have been so many that the numbness is now what moves me. It moves me into the anger and desolation at the thought of someone actually making a decision to load a weapon/weapons and walk into a mass attended venue and begin destroying lives. Where has humanity gone so wrong that this is a. an option for someone and b. it’s hardly news anymore unless the toll is ratings worthy.

Predictably these shootings bring forth all the gun protectors. Under the guise of fiercely protecting the rights of the constitution, people get all preachy and accusatory over where the blame lies. Admittedly, both sides tend to use the same tactics. Gun-protectors are adamant it’s the person wielding the weapon that’s to blame. Anti-gunners are equally adamant that if a weapon was not made available, the assailant would presumably be deterred or at least not inflict as much tragedy.

Lately, however, there’s some strange and dangerous new argument. “Walk UP, not Out” Meaning walk up to the loner and befriend them. Walk up to the outcast and include them.

I’m gonna go ahead and take issue with this. No one has solved the horrifying issue of something that we all took for granted before Columbine; school safety. Because we as a country refuse to work out a solution that suits real life, now the discussion is being dropped in favor of pointing fingers at the students who have been attacked. This is bewildering to me. Everyone wants a clean cut, easy to swallow solution that leaves everyone happy and satisfied. Because there is seemingly no way to make both pro and anti gun groups happy, the easier thing is now the focus; blame the kids. They haven’t endured enough being shot at, burying friends and teachers, let’s blame them for their own terror.

This is wrong on so many levels. I am having trouble articulating how many ways this is wrong, but I’ll do my best.

The outcasts. These are kids who are not just left of normal. They are left, down the block and a few dead end streets. Think of what mental capacity you have to live in day in and day out to actually carry out shooting up a school full of peers. It is not the responsibility of your peers to handle your mental state. Teenagers are not the mental health police for other teens.

Do you then, as an adult, take responsibility when a homeless person attacks another person? Did you go provide housing and care for that person? Surely you are at fault, then, right? Is society a factor in shaping an individual? Absolutely. Is it one hundred percent solely responsible for raising, molding, modeling and nurturing? Absolutely not.

If we are to expect that bullied kids become shooters, why aren’t all the shooters harassed, ostracized gay teens? Why aren’t they African American teens in predominantly white schools? Why aren’t they special needs kids with physical disabilities? These are the bullied and harassed kids. Always have been, and I’d like to think not so much anymore but that is supremely optimistic. It’s been a decade or two since I was in high school, but I think it’s pretty logical reasoning to understand these are the bullied kids across the board. These kids are not the ones taking horrifying action on campuses.

The individuals who enact these terrible crimes are imbalanced. They have been missed or dropped or pushed aside by families, peers, friends, and professionals. The blame cannot absolutely be put on one group, but it most certainly should start in the home.

Regardless of how these people have slipped through the cracks, it is in no way acceptable to think that justifies the actions of taking lives and forever destroying the lives of everyone involved.

If these individuals did not have access to weapons, it is logical to think that the level of atrocity could be very much lessened. There will always be the argument of “they will find a way, regardless” but you know what? We don’t know that for sure, and to use that as a reason not to enact change is irresponsible on us as a community. How about we change the access and then work from there?

I am marching this Saturday in support of demanding new gun control laws and regulations. We have to start protecting our kids and stop arming them. It’s gotta start somewhere, and I am happy to do what I can to help prevent any more school shootings.

 

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