Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Egg-Throwing Supers are the Heroes We All Need

Another magical Christmas in the books for the Fowler Clan.  Santa brought everything the girls wanted, except, as was pointed out before the first piece of wrapping paper had been torn, he only brought ONE dress for Geneva, when she had clearly specified that a "Princess Set" includes TWO dresses.  Yeah?  Well, Santa was out of money, kid, and you're already spoiled.  So Merry Christmas and get over it.

(And when I say "everything they wanted," I feel like I should clarify that they didn't ask for much.  A stuffed bear, a doll, some dress-up things.  Nothing extravagant or crazy.)

I made a breakfast of biscuits and bacon and fried apples, like the apples my Granny used to make.  I was so excited to share that with them - somehow, I've been a mom for almost 7 years and I've not made my kids fried apples?  I waited too long, they both claimed it was gross and wouldn't eat.  Fine, I said, more for me.

We eventually made it over to Mom and Dad's.  We opened presents (they bought us too much, like always) and had a great lunch of Thanksgiving foods because for actual Thanksgiving this year we declared it Thanksdonnakah and had an Italian feast instead of the traditional meal and my Dad and brother were really missing Mom's homemade dressing.

We watched A Christmas Story while we ate, but after that was over, Dad pulled out the VHS-to-DVDs he recently had converted and we took a trip back in time 30 years.  I saw my grandparents again and heard their sweet voices sing. I cried.  We watched my brother's third birthday, and fifteen-year-old Natalie and Tabitha camping at The Property in July of 1995 - that was the time with Dad and the snake skin we all thought was a snake.    

Brooke Hudson popped up in some videos from 1988 and 1989.  Brooke was my best friend in an awkward stage of my life.  She was a little older than me, probably 10 to my 8, but not enough for it to make too much of a difference yet. She spent a lot of time playing at my house.  

Mom was upstairs in the kitchen when I was telling Geneva about Brooke.  "What was her name?" Mom asked.  I told her.  "She was the one who lived just up the street here, right?"  Yep.  Then she said it:

"That's whose house me and Pam egged that time."

**Record Scratch**

Me: "What?"

Mom: "Yeah.  We egged her house.  Well, her mom's house.  We were just talking about that the other day.  Why did we bring that up...?"

Me, incredulous, but already knowing the answer and not yet believing: "Really?!  Why?"

Mom:  "Her mom said something to you that hurt your feelings, I don't remember exactly. So Pam and I egged her house."  Then, to make it okay, "It was Halloween."

I knew exactly why my mom had egged that house.  I never in a thousand years would've imagined that my mom would have ever egged a house, much less in retribution for some mean thing some grown-up said to me, but I knew...

**********

(This is where we travel back in time, to 2010, where I told a story from 1990ish. This next part is from a blog entry titled "I'm a little sensitive, okay?!" dated December 10, 2010.  I apparently remembered a lot more details then than I do now about the incident in question.)

When I was a child, about 10 or 11 years of age, my Momma bought me an outfit from one of those fancy children's clothing boutiques.  I can't remember the reason - if it was for a birthday or Christmas - or if I was with her when she bought it (I seem to think I was).  I just know it was, at that point, the most expensive outfit I'd ever been given (as memory serves, Momma spent close to $80 on it), and I loved it.

It was a knee-length skirt (again, I was a kid) and a jacket made out of shiny black vinyl that I pretended was leather.  The jacket had cool silver zippers and buckles and snaps that made me feel "tough" in a "I'm a pretty princess" sort of way.  The shirt that went under the jacket was stiff, 3/4-length sleeved, and lime green.

I had the outfit for months before I finally wore it.  The more I remember, it must've been Christmas when it was gifted to me - I think it was too cold to wear it at first.  I remember it was a warm day in Spring when I finally pulled it out of the closet and decided "this is the day.  I'm wearing this today."  I was a, um...stout child.  I wasn't fat, but I was never skinny.  The outfit was a bit snug, and I really did recognize that my favorite closet-dwelling get-up was made of black vinyl, not leather.  And I knew I didn't see a lot of kids out and about wearing black vinyl.  But I felt SO COOL when I wore that skirt and jacket around the house.  I had to show it to the world; I had to share it with the world.

It was a Saturday.  I was brave, but not brave enough to wear that outfit for the first time to school.  My best friend Brooke, who lived 3 doors up the street, came over to play.  She loved my outfit.  I beamed.  The day progressed, and at one point we had to go to Brooke's house.  Her mom was weird, and kind of a bitch, so I stayed outside rather than following Brooke into the house.  Her mom came to the door to talk to me anyhow.

Brooke's mom (I can't remember her name, of course) was a big woman.  The sort that if you hug you'll kind of sink into, but she wasn't a hugging sort of person; she used her size to intimidate.  She always had a helmet of box-colored red curls always perfectly styled around her head - that remained the case until her firefighter husband left her a few years later, after which she would sometimes answer the door in her pajamas with half of those curls matted to one side, even at 3 in the afternoon.

So she came to the door to talk to me after Brooke disappeared into the depths of her home in search of her Ken doll so we could even up the odds back at my place or to get her My Little Pony board game or maybe to grab her electric razor because she'd forgotten to shave her legs that morning and suddenly realized it needed to be done RIGHT NOW.  (Brooke was a year or two older than me, and she did shit like that.  She was a little odd.  She also had a missing tooth, with a fake on a retainer that she liked to take out and use to scare me.)  The woman stood on the stoop of her porch, looking down on my 10-year-old self standing on the walkway below her, and she said,


"What are you wearing?"  

I knew from her tone this was not going to go well.  I willed her to not say it.  "This is my new outfit.  My Momma got it for me.  Do you like it?"  I'm chanting in my head now "Don't hurt my feelings, you mean witch.  Don't make me cry.  Please don't be mean to me."  I'm just a kid.


Brooke's mom sneers.  "It looks like a garbage bag."

My heart was crushed.

I laughed as if she'd made a joke.  She said some more words about the material and zippers I was wearing.  Brooke appeared from inside the house and walked back with me back to my house, where I quietly changed out of my skirt, out of my jacket, out of the stiff, 3/4 length sleeved, lime green shirt.  I hung them in the closet.  I never wore them again.

I felt guilt for years when I thought of that outfit.  Guilt because my Momma paid so much money for it and I only wore it that one time.  Guilt because she and Daddy worked hard to earn that money and it was only worn once and then hung in the closet to moulder for years before finally being donated to Goodwill.  Eventually the guilt turned into anger.  Anger at Brooke's mom for being such a raging bitch.  Who says shit like that to anyone, much less a child?



**********

I don't remember telling my mom what Brooke's mom had said to me.  I am sure I didn't come home and cry about it, make a fuss.  I was too embarrassed, ashamed.  That woman had made me feel self-conscious in a way that no adult had ever done.  I was used to being teased - that was par for the course at school every day.  But to have an adult shame me, to make me feel small...that was a new experience.  In my home, in my world, grownups said things like, "you are so smart" and "you're so pretty" and "you can be anything you want to be."  Grownups did not insult your new outfit and then pick apart the things that made it wrong.

As an almost-40 year old, though, I know my mom must have noticed that outfit I'd been so proud of was hanging in my closet unworn.  I know my mom didn't spend that kind of money on that outfit and not notice that it was hanging in the closet unworn.  So I guess at some point the story came out - the why of why I wasn't wearing the special clothes I'd been so happy to wear.

And my Momma got retribution.  That woman probably thought forever and always that her house was egged by rowdy teenagers; I'm certain she never knew that her house was egged by a couple of  30-something-year-old women pissed at her because she was a bitch who said mean shit to a little kid.

To my Momma and my Aunt Pam, I love you forever.  I've always loved you, but this - this brings a whole new facet.  From now on, all I want for Christmas is stories of shit you two did that you wouldn't tell us before because we were kids.  Start writing.

Merry Christmas, Friends!  May you all have an egg-throwing superhero in your corner.



















Friday, May 17, 2019

Shut up about vasectomies.

It's not going to happen.  It's not going to become law. Comparing that bullshit to the reality of men regulating our uteruses is a false flag and it's not going to actually help our cause.

Stop it.


It's a great idea, yeah.  We KNOW men cause unwanted pregnancy - that is a legitimate undeniable fact.  But since when have legitimate undeniable facts shaped our legislative policy?

Please - show me a time?  Can we go back there?

Yeah.

In the meantime, fucking vote.  Take your friends to vote.  Call your state legislators and congress-people and fucking vote.

We are living in scary times.  Please, let's not go backwards.  Please.  I know we're all busy and tired, but seriously, are there really more pressing issues than our actual bodily autonomy?

Vote. Stop sharing memes that don't vote and fucking vote.  Drive your neighbor to the polls and fucking vote.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Because sometimes a facebook post should be a blog entry.

Driving home in the shitshow tonight that was Louisville traffic, I had this niggling feeling in the back of my brain that one of us, in some recent past year, had maybe had a car incident of some sort - maybe that time a firetruck drove over Jimi's tire? Nope- according to Facebook memories, today is the 5 year anniversary of the day I wrecked my Honda Civic, the first new car I'd ever bought. I'd been driving it for 9 years at that point - 5 years later and I'm on my 3rd Subaru because apparently I'm a sucker for a low payment and fancy bells and whistles.
Another fun Valentine's Day related fact, at least in my mind - 5 years ago, I was a momma to one little girl, and knew in my heart that she was going to be our only child. On February 15th, James and Sage got married. Karen Battoe went home with us that night because she and I were both "overserved" - Jimi slept on the couch, Karen and I passed out in our bed. I swear there was no funny business, but 10 months later, to the day, Cora was born. I don't know what sort of witchcraft Karen pulled off that night, but I still threaten to go after her for child support.
We never celebrate Valentine's Day. Two days ago he asked if I wanted to do something this year and I reminded him we never do anything - he said, "I know, but I wanted to check and see if your feelings had changed." You know, because this is our 12th Valentine's Day together, and I guess you never know. He's a really smart man. But I didn't want to do anything; I hate the pressure of Valentine's Day. He shows me every day how much he loves me - he does the dishes and helps get the girls ready for school and gives them baths and watches Game of Thrones without rolling his eyes when I can't remember a single effing thing that happened and keep asking dumb questions even though we've obviously seen all of this before. Sometimes I wonder what it is that I do for him to show my love - it's been over 12 years and our kids are small and life is hard sometimes even when you have it really good, and the last year or so has been really hard inside my head. Laughingly I want to say I show him that I love him by going to work every day and then coming home at the end of each day, by not breaking things when I get pissed off, by doing the laundry - because honestly, some days, that feels like absolutely all that I have to give of myself. I don't even know when I last made a meatloaf for him.
If you've known us since the beginning, you'll remember how gross we were, how gross I was with all of my gushing and mushy over-sharing. Sometimes I try really hard to remember that time, to remember the newness and the excitement, to recapture those feelings. I remember, but they're fleeting feelings, as all of the best things in life are. You can't hold onto it forever. The beauty, though, is the foundation those feelings built. All of this mundane, all of this living when things aren't new and exciting, all of this real life bullshit, it's built on a foundation of that magic, and that is a solid, real, actual thing. It's what carries us when the days are long and the nights are short and our tempers are shorter. It's what carries us when things are hard - it's what reminds us of why we're doing this thing, how we made these people, how we're going to get through the lows until the next high comes along and we can take a breath.
Not for one moment in the last 12+ years have I wanted to leave. Not for one moment have I wanted him to be anyone else. I love that man with every part of my being, even when I'm angry with him and even when I'm pissed off at the world- I'd never want to walk my path in this life without him by my side. He's my best friend, my partner, and I love him forever.
What else is there in a Valentine?

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Saturday morning love.

Have you ever had the best part of your entire day happen before you've even turned on a light?

Cora was in our room at 5:45 a.m., wide awake, happy, ready to face the day.  She's always so happy when she wakes up, and today is no exception.  Jimi and I were tired, though - I'd personally been hoping she'd sleep in a little and let me sleep until at least 7.  I tried to get her to lay down with us, hoping maybe she'd go back to sleep, but she was chatterboxing away - "Daddy LOVES his Batman shirt" and "Kitty Wibby scratched me yesterday" (he didn't, that was forever ago, but everything is "yesterday" right now).  Jimi got up to start getting ready for work (overtime, yay!), and I tried again to get Cora to cuddle up with me and settle in.

From the other room, Geneva, sounding a little sleepy and confused, yelled out, "Cora?"

"What?" Cora hollered back.

"I love you."

Cora yelled back, "I love you too!"

 Oh, be still my heart.  Geneva continued, "If you want to come lay in my bed with me you can."

The only thing in the world better than mommy and daddy's bed is big sister's bed, so Cora bolted up and scrambled to cuddle with her sis before sis changed her mind.  I could hear them talking as they got the covers situated, Geneva giving directions and peppering the conversation with little drops of "Good morning, little girl" and "I love you sweet girl".

Jimi called from the bathroom, "Well, that's the sweetest thing I've heard all week."
"Yep," I replied, "My heart is melted."

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

I blog to avoid the internet.

Fifteen minutes tonight filling out permission slips and volunteer forms and her reading log - I feel so grown up!  There's never a moment I drop the responsibility, never a moment their care isn't a live current running underneath everything else happening in my brain, but sometimes, when I have a quiet moment to sit and really think, it blows my mind that I am a mother, responsible for the lives and well-being of two other entire humans.  What they eat, what they wear, when they bathe, how they play - I have a say in all of it.  Not just a say - I damn-near control it entirely.  It's crazy to me that someone let me have this much responsibility without checking to make sure I'm qualified in any way for this much power.  No Pressure.

G had her first parent/teacher conference today, and it lined up perfectly with C's follow-up pelvic ultrasound, so Jimi took the phone conference in the car with G in the backseat while C and I went inside for her appointment.  They were done with her so quickly, we were back to the car in time for the last part of the conversation.  Basically, she's awesome.  She's reading and writing at nearly a first grade level, which is awesome.  She's ahead of most of her class in math, but she needs to keep practicing on her counting (that jump from 29 to 30 fouls her up every time).  She's a little ray of sunshine, a joy to have in class, friendly and helpful to all of her peers.  I heard the part about how they had to move her to a new table because she was too social, and how they expect they'll have to move her again eventually when she gets social with this table too, and I grinned because, yep, that's my girl.

They told us not to expect C's results for a few days.  The technician took the pics, the radiologist "reads" them and sends results to our doc, then we should hear from our doc in a few days.  I want to hold a goshdang Kaizen event to get these people in line - can't we remove a step or two here and multitask to improve turnaround?  For gosh sakes.  Anytime you're in an ultrasound of any sort, you desperately just want to know, "Does everything look normal?"  She didn't halt the test and go get a doc for a second opinion or anything, so there's that, but when she was done, she did say that she needed to check with her doc and asked us to wait for just a moment.  I felt a small pit of dread drop itself into the center of my stomach, but she came back within a few minutes and said we were all set, good to go.  That doesn't answer any questions, though.  So we wait.  And keep sending out into the universe good vibes for no big deal.

My head is a mess, guys.  I'm so sad when I scroll through my social media pages - pictures of new babies and family gatherings sandwiched between horrid tales from sexual assault victims and memes joking about sexual assault survivors posted by men I previously believed to be Good Men.  I want to stay informed, but I've realized my desire to be informed is not so much keeping me abreast of current events so much as depressing the fuck out of me.  I can scroll for hours in twitter and facebook and Instagram, but I'm not gaining any new knowledge or enlightenment from it - I'm just following the crowd into the hole of chaos and awfulness.  I tried to step back last night; I drew myself a warm bath, threw in a bath bomb, turned on a YouTube meditation video to help with stress and anxiety, and tried to let it all go.  When my bath was over, I didn't feel any better, I felt lost and still so sad.  I asked Jimi if he would hold me; I just needed to lie in bed with his arms around me and feel safe.  He did, and I cried and cried until I couldn't breathe through my nose anymore.  I sobbed the big shaking sobs you cry when you're heartbroken, because I am heartbroken.

"I want to live in a world where everything is fair, where everyone is treated equally, where everyone has to follow the same rules."   Why is that too much to ask?

I am aghast at the state of our nation today.  I am appalled.  But I've been doing a little learning, and I'm learning that I shouldn't be all that shocked.  To paraphrase a post I saw somewhere by someone on some social media something:


The United States 
was formed by 
wealthy white supremacists 
to promote their interests and agenda.  
The system is working 
exactly as it was designed.  


In-fucking-deed.  


So yeah.  I'm having a hard time over here, but I'm taking steps to get better.  A social media hiatus between now and election night is on the agenda. I'm even avoiding some of my favorite podcasts, because they're political and informative and the facts they give stress me the fuck out.

Self care, right?  That should be the word of 2018.  It's the only way most of us will survive it.



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