Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'll Show You Santa!!!

I probably should have titled this post "Don't Abuse the Pastor's Wife!" but that's just laughable. No one is ever going to stop and think before they yell at the pastor's wife for something she HAS NO CONTROL OVER! Do you have your hot chocolate in hand? Are you seated in your comfy chair? Ready for a good story? Good. Then I shall begin.

Once upon a time, about 8 years ago, a tradition started at our church. Santa arrived on the last Sunday before Christmas and handed out small gifts to each child in the church. This started after we had left for Hubby to attend the Most Expensive Seminary in the World and before we returned for him to become The Pastor. I have been told it started to ensure that a few of the children (who normally went without presents) got something each year. At the time, it was a wonderful gesture and our church could financially afford it. After all, there were only 5 or so kids. But, slowly and with great effort, the church has been growing. There are now about 20 children who attend the "Santa Sunday." Not all of them are seen any other time of the year, but... While our church has been growing, the 150 year old foundation, 75 year old roof and 50 year old heating system all decided to show their age this year and the bills are truly threatening to swamp the church and take it under. There is no money to buy unnecessary gifts for children who already get plenty at Christmas.

Let me stop here to say one thing. The children who come from homes that can't provide Christmas WILL still be taken care of, they will not be forgotten. Hubby always makes sure to get presents for them and delivers it to their houses.

Anywho, the past three years, the "Santa Sunday" has been akin to pulling teeth. We have actually had to go outside of our church to find a man to dress up as Santa (even though we have a suit) because none of the men were willing to do it. The head of the Nurture Committee had to arrange to get all the presents even though she was also singing in the Christmas Cantata, helping me with the children's Christmas program and also doing her own Toys for Tots thing with her school kids. Her plate was full and no one would help her. When we did finally do it last year, she ended up giving about 20 of the 30 bags she had prepared away because so few people actually showed up. It just seemed that "Santa Sunday" had run its course and the time had come to extinguish it.

I am not on the Nurture Committee. I knew about the decision to cancel Santa, and I agreed with it, but I had nothing to do with it. But I knew, oh I knew this was going to come back and smack ME in the face. And it did. And it had to be today, of all days.

For you see, for the first time in a very long time, I finally felt like I was coming to an understanding with Christmas. I hate holidays. I use to love Christmas, but it hasn't held joy for me in a very long time. But this year I felt like I could really appreciate that Christmas wasn't about me. E wants to feed the homeless, which means I have done my job as a mom and given her a real world vision. Hubby and I have no money and very few things, but I am completely okay with that and he says that makes me really hard to shop for, because I don't want anything. So I found a website (The Hunger Site) where you can purchase artisan made crafts and each purchase pays for 25 to 50 cups of food for that country where the craft was made. I went through and picked out some of the things I would like and I FELT GOOD!! I wasn't going to be bogged down with stuff that made me feel, well, bogged down. By this morning I had convinced myself that if I could just make it through the Pastor/Spouse Christmas Party next week, I would be okay and I might actually enjoy this holiday season.

So I was at church today and the kids and I practiced their Christmas program. It's the kids up to age 7, so they are antsy and don't sing when they're supposed to and I'm not sure they're going to do what they are supposed to do, but that was fine with me. I didn't care. I still had my good mood. The woman who forced me to run away from my old blog showed up at church today and cornered me and I was civil and polite. It was all fine, I still had my good mood. And then I talked to the Assassin, also known as the head of the Nurture Committee.

She told me she had been stopped and asked about the Santa Sunday. She told me to tell people that if they wanted to donate, they should donate to the local foster home. We never argue or disagree. Honestly. If anything, we are always this united wall that people find very disconcerting. But I dug my heels in and insisted she send an email around to the church and say that the Nurture Committee had decided not to have Santa this year. I told her to do this because I knew that somehow this was going to come back around and people were going to say that Hubby or I were trying to get Santa out of the church. That WE had cancelled Santa because we have been quite vocal about the consumerism of Christmas. She wasn't happy with me but agreed that she would do it and left. MY VERY NEXT CONVERSATION I was trapped at a table with a very angry man asking me why Santa was cancelled. I tried to explain to him that all of our children receive so much and that the church was in financial straits, yadda yadda yadda. The man started to yell at me and spouted off something about taking chocolate bunnies out of Easter next.

Here is where I have really changed as a pastor's wife. Up until recently, I would have stood there and tried to appease the man. As soon as he started lifting his hands up in my face, I walked away and left him to bluster with the three other people who walked up to join him in his anger. I walked away, but OH, I was seething inside. I was just mad all around. It was just wrong on so many levels. Here I was getting yelled at IN CHURCH because SANTA wasn't showing up. SANTA? Should Santa even BE in church? Excuse me, but can you please point out in the nativity where Santa is standing, because I sure haven't seen that bowl full of jelly belly standing out by the shepherds. And then the fact that I have NOTHING to do with the Santa decision. Nothing. The man was yelling at the wrong person. Although he had no reason to yell at all. But now he has a small Santa army on his side and it looks like this is going to be the next be debate in the church. How's that for irony? Hubby is going to have to fight the battle as to whether or not a church needs a Santa.

For crying out loud. Whatever happened to "Hey, unto you a child is born!"?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Last One Standing

Sometimes I think I am meant to be living alone in the wilderness. If the world ended today and I was the last person left on Earth, that would probably be okay with me. I am the most antisocial person in the world. How in the world I have made it this far in a civilized society is besides me.

Case in point: Thanksgiving. I don't like holidays. I don't like holidays because inevitably they mean someone, usually more than one person, is coming to my house OR I must travel across the country and smile nicely at a barrage of people I barely know who always want to hug my neck. When people come to my house, like this week, I turn into a different person and my stress level shoots through the roof. I try to be a good hostess and I want to please my guests, but for crying out loud, I get so sick of the passive aggressive crap that people pull.

For example, I will ask someone if they want me to make them breakfast. I offer them a choice of pancakes and sausage or eggs and toast. They answer, "What are you going to have?" That's not what I asked now, is it? I asked what they wanted. Or I will ask what if they want to go for a walk on the beach and they will answer, "I don't care, what do you want to do?" THAT'S NOT WHAT I ASKED! I get so fed up with that. If we were doing what I wanted, everyone would just eat cereal and E would be outside playing with her friends while I got to finish my very weird book by Lolita Files.

I'm really grumpy today. My parents finally left after spending two days here. They live an hour away, why do they have to spend two days here? Hubby is at church working and I am just really tired with no end to the mommy-dom requirements in sight. And Monday starts Advent. Lovely Advent. The time of year when I have to really kick it in gear and pretend to be a good pastor's wife; baking for the shut-ins, preparing the children's Christmas pageant, singing in the Christmas Cantata, GOING TO THE REQUIRED CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR PASTORS AND THEIR SPOUSES! God help me. The first pastor to approach me at the party and ask "Is this seat SAVED?" is going to get more than he bargained for. I'll show him saved.

Mrrble, mubble, meh.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Daughter Wants to Feed the Homeless

I swear to you, I really am not trying to turn into a philanthropical blogsite. It just seems to be the direction things have been going lately. BUT....that being said, I have a silly request. My daughter is learning about Frida Kahlo in her art class. She found it very intriguing that Frida had polio. It was very coincidental that she learned this on the same day she had to go to her well-child doctor's appointment and get 2 booster shots. While consoling her afterwards, I was trying to explain to her that getting these shots now would prevent her from getting sick later and that she was actually very lucky, because all over the world, lots of children didn't get these shots and they still got sick. She asked me specifically about polio and I said, yes, polio still exists.

One thing led to another and we started talking about how many people all over the world and even in America are starving and don't have enough to eat and this really struck a nerve with her. She told me right then and there that while, yes, she did still want presents this year, she was willing to give up some presents if it meant some homeless people got more food. Of course I thought this was all just a child's short-term memory talk and that thought would fly by and be done with by the next Word Girl episode, but it wasn't. E sat down the other night to make her Santa list (this is probably my last year with Santa *sigh*, but that's another post) and on her list she said she wanted to feed the homeless. I was shocked. But still, I thought this too would pass, until today when we went to the dreaded WALMART! I hate Walmart, but I especially hate it the day before Thanksgiving.

Anyway, we were getting out of the car and she heard the familiar ring of the Salvation Army bells and she grabbed the change out of my console (without even asking, I might add) and headed straight for the bell ringer. Once she gave the bucket the money, she asked me what they used the money for. So I told her they bought toys for kids, clothes for people, hotel rooms for people who lost their homes to fire and food for the hungry. She asked if she could be a bell ringer and I told her I would do it with her if she really wanted to do it. She's incredibly shy, so the verdict's still out on that one, but here's my request: The next time you pass by a Salvation Army bell ringer, will you put an extra quarter in for E and then put a little note on my blog that I can share with her? Say Santa told you a little girl asked you to help feed the homeless. And if you have a blog, even if you are a grinchy type, would you be willing to ask others to do this, just this once and help pass it on?

I am not someone who passes on chain memes or lots of questions, and I don't rant and rave at others. I'm really a very mild-mannered blogger with a dark and twisty attitude. In fact, I have convinced myself no one will really do this. And I'm not trying to draw more people to my blog or be a do-gooder in a dark world, I'm just trying to let my daughter know that she is right, one person can make a difference.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why I Might Be Overreacting

If you read the previous post about the possible bathroom pedophile, there is another story that just recently happened, or at least, resolved itself, that may explain why I am so skeeved out by what occurred in the bathroom.

Several years ago, E and I had been at the World's Most Dangerous Playground. As we were on our way back to my van, we were stopped by an older gentleman. He had on dark glasses, a white t-shirt, white shorts, white socks and white shoes and he was using a blind man's cane. It was hard to miss him. He asked me for directions to some local place and as I was giving him directions, he kept getting closer and closer to me and to E. I put E behind me, opened the van door and shoved her in, closing the door all the while keeping my body between her and the man. At the time I couldn't have explained why I felt so scared of an old, blind man.

It was just as I was about to open my driver side door that the man said, "Your daughter has such lovely blue eyes." He walked over to a bike, got on the bike and rode off. I started to shake and realized that I had just avoided something very bad.

I have never forgotten that day or that man's face. So you can imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago I saw the man's face on my local news. He had just been arrested at the World's Most Dangerous Playground for parole violations. It seems that this man is a repeat offender pedophile who takes indecent liberties with minors. He was sent back to jail and posted bond the next day.

There has been one other incident where someone has tried to take E (they actually tried to take the grocery cart her car seat was sitting on), so you can understand why I am so sensitive to these things. She has such a vibrant, shining personality, people- both good and bad- are drawn to her. So you'll excuse me if I overreact, but better safe than sorry, I say.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Overprotective Mom or Right on Time Mom

What's your opinion?

So I am at church today, as always on a Sunday. You know, I should get paid since my attendance at church is kind of mandatory...but anywho, I digress. Our church is actually made up of two mammoth old brick buildings. There is only one set of bathrooms for both buildings and both buildings are adjoined by a back hallway. The bathrooms are in this back hallway of the buildings and located within eyesight of the nursery. I was in the nursery after the service watching a child for another parent when E decided she needed to go to the bathroom. She left the nursery, went down the hall and went to the women's restroom. She's 7 and most of the people had left for the day, so I really wasn't worried about her going by herself.

Coincidentally, I was watching a child because his dad had to take his sister to the restroom. But the dad took his daughter to the men's restroom because he is, well, a man and that's his comfort zone obviously. Anywho, the child I was watching decided he wanted to go to the bathroom as well so I walked out of the nursery with him just in time to see a male church member walk into the women's restroom. I waited for a second, but he didn't walk out.

Now, it is not unusual at the end of a service to see a man throw a piece of trash away in the women's room since the trash can is right by the door, so I didn't panic at first. Maybe the man was checking something out in the mirror? I don't know. I didn't want to jump to conclusions, but I quickly crossed the 20 or so feet to the bathroom. As soon as this man saw me, he left the bathroom without a word to me and walked into the fellowship hall. E was still using the toilet and never knew the man was there (or at least, that he was a man.)

I know this man. Not well, but I have had conversations with him. I wasn't too nervous about him being in the bathroom until he walked out without saying a word to me. I wanted him to offer some sort of explanation as to why he was alone with a 7 year old girl in a restroom. Even if he had a urinary emergency and needed to use the toilet, I would have rather heard that then be thinking what I am thinking now. He has 4 children, you would think he would know how this appears. But his lack of speech, to me, makes me feel like he was up to no good and now I am worried. Was he up to no good?

Opinions, anyone?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Place Where it All Began

Hi there.

I've been absent.

I know.

My life is pretty boring right now. Except for the continuous battle against the lice, which now extends to E's best friend (but still not me or her...yet)...and Hubby meeting with E's guidance counselor to discuss the idiocy of removing E from class during math to go to the Academically Gifted program for writing but failing to tell us about it and leave us wondering why no one can answer our questions as to why my brilliantly intelligent child is failing math. DUH! She kind of needs to be in the math lesson to learn how to do the math, one would think. But that's all small stuff that is what makes up life. If she gets lice, she gets lice. I am teaching her math and she still gets to go to her AIG class. It's all good.

The Topamax has taken my creative muse. My wanderlust, for the first time in my memory, is gone. There is no sense of angst, restlessness, or lost soul wandering loose in me. I haven't been able to write or create, and I don't even really have a desire to sing. I know this should be creating a sense of panic in me, really. But it doesn't. I have completely hidden a huge chunk of my personality, an important part of what makes up who I am and yet, I am at peace for the fist time in a very long time.

I think if I thought this was going to be permanent, I might worry. After all, I have aligned myself with the arts my entire adult life I have always been a tethered soul struggling to break free. I've always had 12,000 stories going on in my head and 12,001 ideas that I wanted to pursue calling my name. I only have about 6 more months on the medicine and then it will all go back to the way it was. But for now, I am breathing. Just....breathing.

Hubby and I went to the restaurant where our married life began. We had our reception there, we decided to get married in this town while eating dinner there, we have had several anniversaries there. Tonight, we went there on a whim. I was feeling light-hearted and free and Hubby got a glimpse of the girl he married. I made up stories about three other couples who were also eating dinner at the restaurant. There was Cro-Magnon man and Dainty Girl, the Inter-racial couple on their third (you know what that means) date and then the "Why is she married to him?" couple. I haven't done that with Hubby in years. And we had fun. And for as much as I am not me any more, or right now, I was the me that I was when I was the me that I am. And I miss that me, a lot.

So you'll excuse me if my posts are not as frequent or as entertaining. Bear with me, please. I will go back to normal. But you know what? I think, in some small way, my soul is healing some ancient wounds and instead if fighting it and derailing myself the way I always do when it comes to taking care of myself, I am going with it and finding out just where this rabbit hole leads.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Momma Bear, Momma Bear, What Do You See?

I am not going to make it though motherhood.

I'm not.

One day I am going to grab my next door neighbor's girl-child by the scruff of the neck, shake her until the chicken nuggets come out her nose and scream in her face, "WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN?" She is tormenting my daughter and I am about to come out of my corner with both gloves on. Sit down in your comfy chair, this story takes a minute to unfold.

We moved here almost five years ago. At the time, Evil Genius Neighbor was going through a bitter divorce from his bipolar wife. He had a 2 1/2 year old daughter as well who was a brute and we helped care for her since the mother did not. She spent many days at my house and I spent a lot of time working with her and socializing her and I did a damn good job, I might add. This has been the case over the years.

About two 1/2 years ago One Upper neighbor and her husband moved in with their daughters and usurped my role, which is fine. Although, there does appear to be a little bit of inappropriate feelings being bandied about between OU and EG, so much so that EG's daughter has made mention of the relationship. So now we have 4 girls that range from 4 to 7 that all play together. Only EG's daughter is in therapy to deal with all that is going on in her life. And she needs it, because over the course of the past 6 months she has become, for lack of a better word, a tiny 7 year old bitch.

She has targeted E as her scratching post. She hates her and goes out of her way to make her miserable and come between her and her other friends. They were in the same class this year until Mean Girl was demoted back to 1st grade. But while they were in class, she would tell all the kids that E played with herself, which didn't bother E as bad as the other insult, that (gasp) E watched Elmo! She constantly screams and yells and if she doesn't get her way she pouts and resorts to the ever popular "Well, I'm never going to be your friend again!"

E steadfastly marched through all of this like a trooper. She knows that MG has a hard life and she just tried to let it roll off her back. But I will say, E was beside herself with giddiness when she found out MG was no longer in class with her.

Well, MG is only in our neighborhood every other week as a result of the custody agreement. MG arrived Friday and E and MG were playing alone outside yesterday and everything was going smoothly. EG left to run an errand and OU brought her girls out and all hell broke loose. Suddenly it was like watching a coyote try to cut the weak, sick animal from the herd. MG's face just changed and looked hateful, she started screaming at my daughter and the 4 girls split into two groups. I was outside watching the whole thing. I promise you, my daughter did not do a thing. I would tell you if she did, I swear. Trust me, I know my daughter is not perfect. But I tried to stay out of it. I believe that unless they all melted into tears, they needed to try to work it out. They seemed content to play in two pairs of two, so I let it be until EG returned.

When he returned, he heard his daughter yell at mine. He knows that his daughter is a bitch and says he is worried about it, but when I asked him to deal with it, because by this time it was reaching a fevered pitch, he half-heartedly called his daughter over, told her to apologize and said "Go play." You can imagine the eye rolling, stomping off scene that followed and didn't resolve anything. Then he got on the phone. Well, the screaming started again at E and this time I had to step in. I can't allow my daughter to be a doormat. I sat the girls down and had all 4 talk and had them decide what to do. While I mediated and made sure everyone had a chance to talk, I did not interfere or put one tiny iota of my opinion into the discuss. They all talked things out and decided they wanted to stay in their pairs, but E and her friend wanted to come into our house and play dress-up (which I had promised and cleared with the other parents earlier) and the other two wanted to go into EG's house. Fine.

We went over to EG who by this time had been joined by OU and told him the plans and he refused to let his daughter and his friend in his house. Not my problem. He and OU thought the girls should all have to play together. They didn't say this, but they have in the past. Their answer is to yell at the girls to make it happen. OU takes pride in saying that she has made MG cry on several occasions for her bad attitude. I stuck to my guns, made myself very unpopular amongst the in-crowd and took my two assigned children inside.

As far as I am concerned, I asked the dad to step up and he didn't. Yelling to solve this problem is not going to solve this problem. I tried to set a good example and allow the girls to talk. Plus, I don't think they always have to play together all the time. But you should have still seen the adults faces. Now I am in the dog house.

But you know what? I refuse to be THAT parent. I refuse to be the one who completely ignores the situation until yelling is the only answer. Or who thinks it is okay to that this Mean Girl attitude proliferates throughout our schools.

I am not going to make it through motherhood.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recipe for Complete and Utter Exhaustion

Take 22 children and put them in a preschool classroom.

Add lice to one child's head. Marinate well.

Now add 2 full rainy days that prevent children from going outside to play.

Do 22 head checks once a day for 5 days.

Field questions from 22 sets of parents while respecting student confidentiality.

Check own head every day all week. Find three suspicious things, but nothing official. Hot oil hair twice, nit pick with comb twice a day every day.

Add one full moon.

Find out own child, who tested off the charts last year, is failing math.

Add incompetent and idiotic own child's teacher on list of things to confront. (another blog post another day, but I promise, this is the story of incompetent teaching to end all stories)

Go to choir, go to skating event, take daughter and three other girls to another city for birthday outing, do the dishes, do the laundry, Cinderella (oops, sorry), wash all blankets and things that might have lice.

Come home at end of work on Friday and find laundry not folded, diswasher not done and Hubby, who is going out with the boys tonight, napping.

Oh, wait, I said this was a recipe for exhaustion, not murder.

Anywho....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Attack of the Killer Lice

I have never in my entire life had lice. Not once. My mom confirmed that fact again for me yesterday. I have worked with kids for 18 years and never seen a louse nor nit. Until yesterday.

Most schools have "No Nits" policy. This policy states that a child having lice may not return to school until all signs of lice, eggs or nits on his or her head have been removed. That's all fine and dandy as long as the parent TELLS THE SCHOOL THE CHILD HAS LICE!

About three weeks ago the woman I work for stated that when I wear my hair up in a ponytail, I look severe and unapproachable. It made her uncomfortable. So, even though I have always worn my hair up around children, I started wearing it down. About this time one of my students started scratching her head...a lot. I am new to this school so I didn't know that this family has been struggling on and off with lice for the past year. Last year their children spread it to nine other kids in the school. I had no reason to mention the itchy child because, well, children get itchy.

Until yesterday. This child's older sister was sent home from school. Another student's mom had called in to tell the school she would be keeping her daughter home from school due to lice. This automatically starts a shool wide head check. This was how we found out that my student's older sister not only had lice BUT SHE HAS HAD IT FOR THREE WEEKS! The parents didn't bother to tell the school because they couldn't afford to take the time off from work to keep her home.

Okay, I am stopping my story right here for a moment to insert my opinion. I completely understand where they are coming from. I am (now) an hourly employee and can't afford to take time off. I am even okay with the child being in the classroom. But I am not okay with them not telling us. Had we known, we would have implemented preventative measure in our classroom to help stop the spread of the lice. I myself would have worn my hair up. But the family felt the need to hide this from us and THAT I don't appreciate!

Anywho, you would think the story ends there, but it doesn't. It gets worse. We tried to send our student home yesterday when we found two nits and the father went ballistic. He was furious and swore they had been treating it and that there were no live animals on her head and he couldn't afford to take off work and...and...and. But, he was required to come get her, so he did.

Fast forward to this morning. The dad brings his daughter in, understandably defensive, claims he has checked her hair himself and declared her nit free. While we were doing the head checks on our students that we must now do everyday for a week, I checked our child with lice and found about 25 nits. My lead teacher told me to get a second opinion. Another teacher yanked a piece of hair out of the child's head and put the hair and nit in an envelope to show the parent, assuming the child was going to be picked up. My lead teacher (not wanting to be yelled at again by the father) and the preschool division head spoke and decided since the nit appeared empty, they would allow the child to stay in school. I was fine with that decision since all of our students and myself now had our hair up.

Finally, we had a staff meeting today and the issue of lice came up, of course. My lead teacher didn't mean to, but she essentially made me look like an idiot while trying to cover her ass. She told the whole faculty that she looked in the child's hair and saw nothing, I looked and thought I saw "something" but the division head person looked and didn't see anything so they decided to keep the child in school. Remember the envelope? Anyway, another teacher went to bat and told the truth and I kept my mouth shut. But I was very glad to get home today, even if my head is itchy. And no, I don't have lice...at least...not yet.

But I bet your head is itchy now, too.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

WHAT????

"NEW ORLEANS – People with low cholesterol and no big risk for heart disease had dramatically lower rates of heart attacks, death and stroke if they took the cholesterol pill Crestor, a large study found."

What? Are you telling me that doctors are actually trying to say that people who don't have the risk factors for heart disease should take this medicine to prevent something that probably wouldn't happen to them anyway? Is that really what I am reading?

The article goes on to talk about Crestor causing a rise in the onset in high blood sugar and diabetes. MY BLOOD SUGAR was rising when I have never been diabetic before. I kept mentioning that fact to Evil Doctor and he kept brushing me off. He told me that it was still in normal ranges it. It was 99. 99 was the top of the range. 100 would have been considered pre-diabetic. It was never like that before Crestor and was not like that after Crestor. ARGH! I hate Evil Doctor.

The article also goes on to say that Crestor had more incidences of the serious muscle reactions. Uh, DUH!! I could have told you that. But did ED listen to me? NO! And they want EVERYONE to take it? Are you kidding me?

RUN AWAY!!!

You have got to be kidding me! I'm so angry right now I could spit. I hate this medicine. I hate this medicine. I HATE THIS MEDICINE!!

Do not take medicine for needless reasons and do not let doctors intimidate you into taking needless medicines for needless reasons. That is why there are Superbugs in the world. This has been a non-medical report brought to you by Living in Muddy Waters who has no medical degree whatsoever, just a whole lot of horse sense!

GRRRR!!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Am a Chicken Shit and Keyboard Courage

Dear mom in the dressing room next to me today,

I should have called DSS today and had your 6 month old son taken away from you today. I sat there in my dressing room with my phone in my hand, ready to call 911, ready to just hold the phone up in the air and let the dispatcher hear you and your friend scream obscenities at your son. You were mad at your son because he woke up while you were shopping in a brightly lit store after only sleeping 20 minutes. You were mad because he had dared to poop in his diaper and you had neglected to bring another one in the store. Your friend told you to "just let him sit in his own shit, that'll teach him." HE WAS A BABY!!

You were mad because your husband called you for the fourth time that day and you refused to answer the phone. You yelled obscenities at the unanswered phone. You were mad when your son started to cry when you were yelling obscenities at him, and you started yelling louder when he started crying harder when your friend joined in the yelling.

You told him you couldn't have a life with him. You couldn't even go shopping and have 20 minutes to yourself without hearing him cry or dealing with his shit. You told him that nobody wanted him, that you were the only one that would take care of him, no one would help. No one would give you a break. You were tired.

You are tired and I am a chicken shit.

I know you are tired.

I know.

I should have knocked on the door and told you and your friend to go and get some coffee and I would take care of the boy. You didn't know me, but I suspect you wouldn't have cared at that point. But I didn't. I was afraid of you yelling at me. I was afraid of you taking your anger at my interference out on your child. I was afraid of getting involved.

If you truly hate your son, I have three words: Safe Haven Laws. Use it. No one will judge you.

If you love your son and are just too tired to cope, seek help. PLEASE. Every single mom has days where she hates her child. None of us wants to admit it because what if that is the day something horrible happens and we can never take it back, but we all have those days. Those days when we don't know how we can be the mommy one more minute without prying our eyes out with a screwdriver. You are not alone.

I know you will never read this. But I should have done something and now I can't. People google the strangest things and read blogs looking for support, so I hope karma leads someone here one day who needs to hear these words so I can right my wrong.

Love,

Muddy Waters

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Making Amends and Growing Up

Growing up my parents had no money, therefore I had no money. None. Nada. Zip. Until I was about 12, my parents floated checks from pay period to pay period and creditors were always calling.

We bought cars for two dollars and they blew up going up the small hills of Ohio.

My mom sewed all my clothes from scraps of the fabric she used to sew her clothes, so we always matched whether I liked it or not.

Eating out occured once every three or four months and I remember eating a lot of rice, because it was cheap.

We had very little, but we had a lot of love. Regardless of what is happening now in my life, I grew up knowing my parents loved me and would do anything for me and be there for me no matter what.

So I was somewhat surprised and hurt when my dad got mad at me for buying a used couch off of Craigslist. I have been watching Craigslist for the past year and keeping my eye out for a quality couch. One finally came along. It was $200.00 and in really good shape. It is so much nicer and better quality than anything we could buy new but all my dad could hear was I was buying it used. In fact he moaned "How do you know someone hasn't died on that couch?" I was shocked and hurt. If anyone understands buying used stuff, he should. Here I thought I was being thrifty and responsible with my money.

E heard me talking to Hubby about my conversation with my dad after it happened and it must have made quite an impression on her, because she held it inside until this past week. She had Monday and Tuesday off from school and I had it off from work but I wanted a little time to myself so I sent her off to spend the night with my parents. My dad brought her back on Tuesday. I was sitting on my front porch with my dad and Elena when out of nowhere my dad apologized for what he said.

Dad: MW, I'm sorry for what I said about the couch. It's a nice couch. I just feel bad that you grew up without anything and I hate to think of E going through the same thing.

E: Grand-dad, I told you, my mom doesn't think she grew up without anything and I don't either. We may not have any money, but we have a LOT of love! And that's all I need!

Have I said lately what an amazing person I think my daughter is?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Have a Friend

I have a friend.

She's one of those people whom, if you don't know her, you look at and think she's as tough as stone. But she's really not. She's also one of those people who always gets asked to do things because she always says yes. She never really wants to say yes, but she has a deep sense of commitment to things, so she usually leads the charge.

So it is no surprise to me that every year for the past five or six years, she has headed up a program in our area that collects food for the food bank. She does it as part of the national organization of drama teachers. She doesn't have to do it. It's not part of her job description. She doesn't get paid for it. No one even checks to see if she is going to do it. Knowing her, she probably read about it in a drama magazine, thought it was a cool idea and just decided to add it to her already busy schedule. And in fact, it comes at the worst time of year for her as she has a school play and drama tournament rehearsal going on, as well as a Haunted House program her theater troupe takes part in. She spends extra hours organizing her school kids, sorting through the food and delivering it to the food bank. She even misses out on trick or treating with her own son because this is something she feels so strongly about. She does it without complaint and without recognition. She just does it.

This year her kids collected so much food that it wouldn't all fit in her truck, so I volunteered my van to help deliver the food. She's done so much for me and for my church that I try to look for opportunities to help her any chance I get. We loaded up my van until I was afraid of turning for fear of shifting the weight and causing my car to tip. The food was unloaded and weighed and because of her, the food bank received 1896 pounds of food.

Let me say that again:

ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED NINETY-SIX POUNDS OF FOOD.

That's approximately 1066 servings of Kraft macaroni and cheese.
Or 3,792 servings of Beefaroni.
Or 5688 servings of tuna.

In other words, four families of four will eat for 10 weeks on the amount of food that my friend collected. And no, she didn't do it alone. But it was done because she did it. She chose to step up and say "I will lead when no one else will." Because she has chosen to say yes instead of no when she has been called, or felt called, or simply been asked, others lives will be just a little bit easier. I wonder how many of us, myself included, don't answer our calls? How many of us say "Why should I do that, I'm just one person, I can't do much?"


ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED NINETY-SIX POUNDS OF FOOD.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

Sunday, November 2, 2008

All Saints Day and Yet Another Bad Pastor's Wife Incident

I think this Topamax has caused some sort of psychic schism.

But more on that in a minute. Today was Homecoming in our church, complete with a covered dish dinner and Hubby's new boss delivering the sermon. Being the good and dutiful pastor's wife and wanting to make a good first impression on Hubby's new boss, I set out to be the Good Pastor's Wife. I agreed to sing special music, I put on a SKIRT complete with PANTY HOSE. I wore MAKEUP and even tried very hard to tame my wild mane by spending 20 minutes blow drying it down. I had all the best intentions.

Yesterday, when planning for today, I had looked through my cookbook and come up with a recipe for apple cake to make and bring as my contribution for the covered dish meal. Only I didn't have butter or eggs. Hubby and E were out yard sale-ing so I called him to ask him to pick up those things. Only, as luck would have it, the two of them were at a church yard sale that just also happened to have a bake sale going on. Lo and Behold, there was APPLE CAKE! Hubby asked me if I just wanted him to pick up some apple cake there and then I wouldn't even have to worry about making it and I could still bring something homemade. I, of course, thought that was a wonderful idea.

Fast forward to this morning. Hubby had gotten to church first and dropped the still-wrapped cake off on the food table. When I got there with my skirted, pantyhosed, made up and tamed maned self, two of the old biddies where clucking over the "bought" apple cake going "What does she think this is, a bake sale?" in a very nasty tone. I just deflated right there. I politely interrupted them and informed them that this is E's birthday weekend and I had a lot on my plate and Hubby just happened to be at a bake sale but I didn't want to deceive anybody so we brought it still wrapped. I would love to be retired so that I could cook something from scratch at anytime, but I'm actually quite busy. I was so upset. That's what I get for trying to be something I'm not.

Okay, now for the freaky thing. Today is All Saints Day, where you remember the people who have died, particularly the church members who died this year. I was standing in the pew all by myself (as I always do since Hubby kind of leads the service) and I was wearing my puffy sleeved choir robe. We were coming to the end of the service and singing the last hymn. I was being silly and juvenile and laughing to myself because the words of the hymn were written by someone whose name was "Lesbia." That name and the contrived words just cracked me up and I was just giggling away when I felt someone reach around and in a very friendly way grab my arm. The sleeve of my choir robe crinkled in and I turned my head to the person I thought was standing there to give them an appropriate "Hey" (Southern for: How are you, it's good to see you again). Only....there was NO ONE THERE!

I was so taken back that I turned around, sure that a prankster had snuck up and hugged me and then ducked under the pews, but one of my friends was staring at me from across the sanctuary and swore she didn't see anyone. But several people saw my sleeve move. When I went back to the choir room to take off my robe, several of the other choir members mentioned seeing me turn around in surprise. It was so very strange. Whoever it was knew me and liked me, of that I am sure, but I am not sure I want to experience it again for a long time to come.

So that was my day. Biddies berating me and ghosts hugging my neck. All in a day's work.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hmmm..

I've been finding it hard to blog lately. There's a lot of reasons why. One is the Topamax. I really feel numb all over it from it. I appreciate that it calms people down, but I really didn't need to be made any calmer. Although I am thankful that the eye tracking problem Topamax causes has resolved itself. I would turn my head and it would take a second or two for my eyes to follow. That was a little offsetting. I had to back off on the dosage because it was making me so sick. I did lose 8 pounds, however. The weight loss stopped, so last night I went back up to the prescribed dose. We'll see how I do. The doctor eventually wants to get me up to 100 mg and I only just took 50 mg last night.

But the real reason I have been reluctant to blog is because something significant has been happening between Hubby and I lately and it is in an area I never blog about, our sex life. Most people don't like to think of pastors having sex. So, if you are one of those people, stop reading here. Although this is not about the hows as much as the whys.

I was raised in a fairly open family (remember the condom candy bowl idea?) I was not a sexually promiscuous person, but I wasn't afraid of it either. Hubby and I always had a good sex life and we are a normal couple, I think. But the past couple of years, everything seemed to get in the way of sex. We were too busy, one of us had to work, there was something on tv we wanted to watch and then we were too tired. Sex was getting farther and farther apart. We just weren't making it a priority. And other things were happening, too. Hubby would sit on the couch and I would curl up in my blue comfy chair all night. I would leave the house and forget to kiss Hubby goodbye. Hubby would call me on the phone less and less. Our relationship just wasn't as close. It was still good, it just wasn't as close.

Then Hubby went away for 8 days. He went away for business and for some purposeful soul searching, but I had already been doing some soul searching as well. Was I eating to fill a need that wasn't getting filled? Was my angst and loss of self coming from an imbalance in my relationship with the man I love more than anyone else in the world? Where were we missing pieces in our relationship when we had worked so hard this past year to rebuild our marriage that we had almost lost? It all came back to sex.

The lack of sex is mostly my fault. As I have gained weight, I have become more and more reluctant to participate, embarrassed by my body. Hubby would ask and I would say no and he would ask less and less and I would feel rejected when I wanted him to ask and he wouldn't. But why should he? He was tired of being rejected, too.

But remember my vow to say yes more to life than no? I decided to try that with sex as well. Hubby returned from his retreat and I said yes every time he asked. And when he realized what I was doing, he asked a lot. (I think he wants to drink as much water as he can before the well runs dry, because, knowing me, it will probably run dry.) Sometimes I wasn't necessarily interested, but I still said yes. Most times I was. In fact, the more I said yes, the more I wanted to say yes the next time.

And things started happening. I lost most of that weight I mentioned earlier before I started the Topamax. I wasn't eating as much to soothe myself. Hubby started putting his hand on the small of my back when we walked through a doorway (remember those days?). We stole small kisses all day long. When he called me, I could hear him smile. We turned off the tv and talked. We felt closer to each other. We felt connected in a way that we haven't felt for years. I know that I am the one who has done the most changing and that it was me causing our sex life to stutter and falter, but the change I see in my Hubby is amazing and encouraging and makes me feel sad that I spent so much time saying no.

So, I am sorry if this was inappapropriate blog fodder for some of you, but I am one of those writers who obsess about things and have to get things out of my head before I move on. And by the way, this post has been approved by Hubby, which really surprised me.