Posted in Life

Dirty Girls

I hope I didn’t mislead you with the title…okay, okay, I intentionally misled you with the title, selfishly hoping you would think this blog was about something sexy, when really, it’s about actual dirt. Or mud, to be more precise. I mean, you could, conceivably, find something sexy about mud, I guess. It takes all types of people (freaks) to make the world go ’round, as they say.

So, yeah. Saturday, I ran (please understand that when I say “ran”, I really mean “jogged”, “walked” and towards the end “trudged” and “limped”) an  obstacle course called the Mud Run. It says it is 5 miles, on the website. In the information packet they emailed me, it says “approximately 5 miles”, which I optimistically took to mean less than five miles. Somewhere within the first quarter mile, I was informed by my teammate that it was actually 6 miles. I’m glad she told me AFTER  the race had started.

I realize that it is now Tuesday. I would have written about it sooner, only I have been basically crippled since about five minutes after completing the event. The simple act of sitting down on the toilet has become a very painful process. My pelvic area is not doing so well- the only other time it felt like this, I was minutes away from giving birth. I’m not sure if this is normal or not, but I feel reassured by a conversation I had this morning with my sister-in-law, Andrea ( the other senior citizen on our otherwise 20 something team ), who apparently only today was able to get out of bed. Yep, since the minute the adrenaline from actually completing the race wore off, I have been a little bit sore. I make a lot of noise when I stand up, sit down, move or breathe. Other than that, I am totally fine.

In my defense, I only found out three weeks prior to the race that I was going to be on the team. My other sister-in-law broke her foot and got pregnant (not necessarily in that order) so she dropped out. If you have been reading my blogs, you know that I smoke. You know that I am rather chubby, presently. You may or may not know how sucky my exercise routine is- hell, I didn’t realize it until this! I knew it wasn’t great, but I had no idea I was in this bad of shape. So you may be asking yourself WHY a person with all these issues would have said YES when asked to participate. Here is my answer- I have no idea.

I guess because someone I love asked me to. And because I had wanted to do it when I first heard about it months and months ago (time I could have spent preparing for this thing) but I had not one friend able to commit to doing something with me. Yes, it does irritate me, thanks for asking. It looked like fun! I mean, it was called a “Fun Run”, so it had to be fun, right? Hmm…and also because I wanted to see if I could. I think the biggest reason behind why I was able to do it was this- I absolutely did not think about it at all, nor did I google it, mention it or allow myself to contemplate what I was undertaking at any time prior to last Saturday.

Well, except for that tiny little moment Saturday morning, while I was sitting on my porch with my book and my coffee, (yes, smoking) when out of nowhere I was utterly consumed with panic.

“What the HELL was I THINKING?!!” screamed me, in my head. “I can’t do this. No way. No way, no way, no way!” And that was that. There was no turning back now.

So, it was freezing cold. The shirt I had to wear was too small, but I will say this, it really accentuated my fat roll. There were a lot of people there that seemed very excited to be doing this, and to know what, exactly, it was that they were doing. I suppose I could have educated myself a little better about what was ahead of me. I was really running with the whole “ignorance is bliss” thing.

The first thing they made us do was group exercise, which included push-ups on gravel. I thought that was a little mean. Also, we had to do lunges, which for some reason, I don’t seem to be coordinated enough to do. I know, I know, it’s bending your KNEES, for heaven’s sake! This should give you some idea of what I was up against. Then, we all stood around for a minute, the starting gun went off, and we took off…sorta. What actually happened is we slowly started moving forward, a lot like the line for a roller-coaster at a busy theme park in July (if July was freezing). Little by little, space opened up around us as we moved along.

The first sign that this may not go well was when I wanted to die at the quarter mile mark. I didn’t say anything, but I was a little frightened. Then, we finally got to the first mud pit. I gotta admit, this was one of the highlights for me- where else, as a thirty six year old woman, do you get to dive into a giant mud puddle? I kinda wish I hadn’t ripped my knuckle off bashing it into the ground under all that mud, but oh well. Small price to pay. So there were several of those mud pits. There were some incidents with walls to be climbed over- you’d think a five foot wall would be no big deal, but when you’re climbing over it, it’s different. There were sand dunes and steep hills and six miles is really, really far to run. But I did it. We all did. And we weren’t even the last ones to finish. I have taken a few baths a day since the race to ease the pain in my muscles, and also to count the insane amount of bruises covering my poor body. But I would do it again, in a heartbeat. Just not for another few months, that’s all.

In closing, I would like to say this to my teammates: Andrea- Other than the fact that you made me swear on my life I’d walk with you, only to then get some demonic burst of energy and abandon me, I still love you and I’m so glad you asked me to come along. Jenny, I’m really sorry our fat asses held you back when you’ve been training like a champ for MONTHS now. I would like to point out that I had little notice, but even if I had, I probably still would’ve been a whiny little bitch. Darcie- we didn’t talk much, but you seem like a nice kid. I hope you aren’t pissed that you got saddled with my old, chatty ass. And Haley- I hope your knee feels okay, and that you got tons of sympathy tips at work that night! You deserve it!

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Posted in Life, Uncategorized

Little Wonder

I know my topics bounce around a lot. I get a lot of ideas in my head throughout the day about what I want to write about, and the one that yells the loudest is the one that wins when I sit down here at my keyboard. Tonight, I want to take a few minutes to write about my littlest girl, Camryn.

I’m going to be really honest here (as if I am ever anything else) and tell you that, when I found out I was pregnant, I was not exactly thrilled. A year, almost to the day, prior to my last pregnancy, I had sat in the same bathroom, peed on the same (type of ) stick, and seen the same results. I was numb. I was definitely having the baby, but I wasn’t okay with it at all. It was a major blow, a big mistake, just not good. So when I went to the doctor due to some minor spotting just a few weeks in, and he told me that this baby inside me had no heartbeat, I was not at all prepared for the total, horrible grief that took a hold of me. I was devastated.

Fast forward a year. I wish I could put into words that odd, detached, yet somehow terrified feeling I got looking down at that little, all powerful, EPT. That’s “early pregnancy test” in case you somehow did not know that. The worst part was, it had looked like it was going to be negative. (I know, I know, they tell you to wait a certain amount of minutes before trying to read it. Show me ONE woman who does this.) It had done all the stuff it seemed like it was going to do, then slowly, sloooowly, that second line appeared.

I was scared. I was OLD. I mean, I know 35 is not really old, but in terms of having another baby, it kind of is. I had actually sort of convinced myself that I had “old eggs” and was in no danger of getting pregnant. I highly discourage this as a method of birth control. It has a few glitches. Anyway, so there it was.

Now I’m going to share with you something that will probably make you think I am totally nuts- if you don’t already. At no time during my entire pregnancy did I believe anything other than that this was the same baby. What I mean is, that baby that I had miscarried had come back, a year later, when it was a better, more feasible time for it to be born. I don’t know that I have ever shared that with anyone other than Devon, who is the other co-creator of this child. I really believed that, and I still do. I got a do-over. It was the right time.

I had a lot of the normal worries of pregnancy- will my baby be healthy, is everything alright in there, etc. I had some of the added worries of a later-in-life pregnancy- will my baby have Down’s Syndrome? Will my body be able to do this? And then I had some worries about things that women who have other children undoubtedly have- will my daughter (who was already 12 at the time) be okay with all of this? And the biggest question of all- How will I ever be able to love another kid the way I love this one?

The answer arrived in the form of Camryn Faith, on November 16th, 2010. It was a scary delivery. She had some problems with her umbilical cord, and every time I had a contraction, it became compressed, cutting off her oxygen. I listened as her heartbeat disappeared. So did the whole room full of doctors and nurses. I don’t know that I have ever felt so helpless before in my life. Finally, they wheeled me off to surgery (my very first one, ever) and not ten minutes later, I heard my little girls first cry in the world.

I’m pretty sure I had postpartum, this time around. Everything was harder for me than it had been the first time- of course, the first time, I had been 22, clueless, and the baby had come out via the normal and standard orifice rather than through a man-made one in my abdomen. It was hard. I think it was a good two weeks before I really started bonding with this perfect little girl. But once it started, look out.

I have had her for a while now, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep her. Sure, she likes her dad a little more than she likes me, but whatever. If I was a baby, I probably would, too. He’s more on her level (BURN! Ha!), not that I’m jealous or anything. I am such a better parent this time around than I was the first time. I have so much more sense, and so much more understanding of what it really means to be a mother. I am forming a human being here, that will someday go out into the world and be a grown up woman. I want to do this right.

Camryn is a blessing. Not just to us, here in this house, but to the people she meets. She is one of those happy, smiling, laughing kids that cheer people up. There are rarely times when she is fussy or unhappy- she wakes up with a smile on her face and goes to sleep the same way. She is above average smart, and I’m not just saying this because I am her mom- her doctor has verified this for me time and time again. She’s a toddler and she has an amazing sense of humor!

But Camryn is a blessing for even more important reasons than just being a ray of sunshine in a sometimes rotten world. She did something to my heart. I don’t know how to describe it other than this- because of her, my heart burst wide open, allowing me to love in a whole different way. Maybe I was just too young with Aisley, too selfish, still, but now I am so aware of how precious children really are. And every single one of us was a child at one time. See the implications, here? Every face on the planet is a face that has been loved by a mother, a father….every one of us have had a moment we don’t recall, where someone has watched us as we slept and loved us until their heart ached. Camryn has softened every hard part of me, and opened my eyes. She is my little wonder.

Posted in Life, Uncategorized

Amphetamines OR So You Want To Ruin Your Life

*Disclaimer* I am in no way endorsing the use of drugs. This is intended to be a joke. If you have no sense of humor, please, don’t read this. It’ll only piss you off.

I’ve talked about this in a roundabout fashion, here, before. I told you all that I, not so very long ago, was in the grip of a monstrous addiction. What I did not tell you was to what, and if I were a reader who didn’t know me, that would drive me crazy. I would want to know exactly what drug this writer was strung out on. So I’m just going to tell you (in case you didn’t figure it out already via the title) that my drug of choice was amphetamines. When you say it like that, it sounds so professional. If I were to be specific, methamphetamines were the type I preferred. But you know, we didn’t call it that, either. We just called it “shit”. Which, looking back, seems highly appropriate.

Have you ever entertained the idea of, perhaps, trying this drug at one time or another? Is there anything I can say to you to dissuade you? What if I told you I had strong evidence that there is really NOTHING good that could come of it…unless, of course…well, lets just run through this little list real quick. If any of these things sound good to you, then hey, what the heck. Be my guest.

1.) You’ve decided that you hate your teeth, and want to destroy them in the quickest, most painful way possible.

2.) You’ve decided that “skinny” just isn’t cutting it anymore- you want to go more for the “starving” look. I used to joke (sickly) that I was trying to get back to my original weight-8 pounds.

3.) You think it would be a lot of fun to spend four or five hours a day picking your face in a mirror and/or plucking your eyebrows…or both, even.

4.) You’ve decided that you love where you are in your life so much, be it adolescence or young adulthood, that you want to prolong it indefinitely. Your life may certainly change, but not for the better- however, you will find yourself, at whatever age you finally knock it off, the mental age you were when you started. You have missed the boat, sunshine. Now it’s catch up time.

5.) You want to see if staying awake for four or five days in a row really makes you hallucinate. It does. You can skip this one.

6.) You want to see if Meth is really as addictive as they say it is. It is. You can skip this one, too.

7.) You are tired of all your boring old dreams and aspirations. You want to destroy them and throw them all away.

8.) You have a real problem with arriving places on time. You can’t seem to ever be late, and it’s high time you started making people wait.

9.) You find that you just aren’t enjoying sex and have heard that meth will increase your sex drive. Yes, this works for some people. Unfortunately, you may not be quite as picky about WHO you are having that sex with, which could be a bit of a problem down the road. Also,  sober sex may be a little more…well, sober, but the risk of stroke is drastically reduced.

10.) You kind of like the way acne looks on you. (of course, I seem to be enjoying this look anyway, but at least now I have insurance and can go to the doctor to have it dealt with.)

11.) You have no desire whatsoever to have any financial, emotional or mental stability either now or in the foreseeable future.

12.) You look way too young and would really like to age yourself at least five years, preferably in the next 6 months or so.

13.) You are lonely and you want your phone to ring. So what if it is nothing but collection agencies. Anyway, you won’t have a phone for long, so enjoy it while you can.

14.) You want to distrust everyone you know and know that those feelings are reciprocated.

15.) You hate looking people in the eye, anyway.

Oh, I could go on and on and on. But I guess I won’t, because my mom reads this, and God knows I’ve put her through enough already. I highly encourage you to NOT choose to live your life the way I did for so very long. I am one of the very lucky, extremely blessed women who made it out intact. But, as they teach you in this little program I attend, all I have is a daily reprieve.

I am making a joke about it now because I can, and because I have learned that for me, laughter is therapeutic. If I didn’t laugh at how very poor my choices were, at all the mistakes I made, and how royally I screwed up…well, then I would just be sad, wouldn’t I?

I know some of my friends are going to read this…can you think of anything I could have added to the list? I really am interested in what you have to say.

Posted in Uncategorized

Happiness Is…

This is going to be an incredibly short blog, but I think it is important that I write this down. If for no other reason than for myself to be able to look back at it sometime, as a reminder.

I get so incredibly overwhelmed by my life sometimes- with work, and my kids, my relationship, my writing, the puppy. Trying to fit in a minute to exercise, to read, a moment for myself. Trying to find a second to cook dinner, throw in some laundry, read to the baby. My life is so full of life that I don’t feel like I’m living at all (if that makes any sense to you at all, you have my sympathy.).

I get caught up in the “should” thing, a lot. I should be more organized. I should be doing this instead of that. I should be more like this, less like this, better at one thing, not so concerned with another. 

It seems like it requires an awful lot of things going a particular way for me to be okay. If I focus too hard on why I’m feeling good at any given moment, my brain automatically comes up with ten reasons I should really be worried. I don’t know why I am like this, but I doubt I’m the only one. 

But you know, sometimes, what is really needed is a little perspective, and maybe a gentle foot on the brakes of life-obviously, you can’t just stop altogether. Lets be reasonable. However, for me, (and I have known this about myself for a very long time, but I forget it over and over again.) taking a walk-a good, long, brisk walk- can calm me down, every time. Without fail. If I leave my phone at home, it works even better.

If that’s not possible, and sometimes it’s just not, then taking a short break- five minutes on the front porch with that book, or- and I had to do this last weekend, my mood was so atrocious- when things are super sucky, I will literally get down on my knees and pray. My family already thinks I am some kind of religious freak (which I am SO not ) so I just shut the door and make it quick. I ask for a little help in letting go of my disastrous thoughts, and maybe a little kindness. It helps.

I want to be better than I am. I never want to stop wanting that, because there is always more we can be. I think it’s okay to strive for more. But it isn’t okay to beat yourself up for being who you are. And it’s not okay to get so caught up in looking ahead that you can’t love what is right here. 

I had a tough night tonight, a lot going on and not enough time, and I was frustrated and upset with my kids and my boyfriend for whatever reason you can think of. I was mad that the house was a mess, and I was mad at myself because I didn’t want to deal with it. I was wishing I was different and better and more right NOW. So I sat out on the porch for a minute with my book.

When I came back in, the first thing that hit me was the amazing smell- meatloaf and mashed potatoes I had made for dinner. The lights were already out in the hall and the kitchen, so the warm light from the laundry room and the sound of the TV made it feel so cozy. There were baby toys laying around, and the puppy was asleep on the floor. 

It looks just like a family lives here, is what I thought. I know how dumb that sounds. But it felt so warm and safe and normal, and I realized I have come far enough away from the mess my life once was to actually take this stuff for granted. How amazing is that? On the one hand, awful, but on the other, proof of just how far I have come.

So you see, once upon a time I would have given ANYTHING to be here. I would not have thought it was possible, no way. There is no logical path from where I was to where I am now. Still, here I am, always wanting to be some other place. 

I think tonight I am going to spend some time loving it right here. Goodnight!

Posted in Life

F***ing Girl Scout Cookies

It’s that time of year again…you can’t go anywhere without being accosted by them. Brownies. Girl Scouts. So cute, with their dimples and their little curls, perched behind their fold-out cardboard tables, running up to greet you as you exit Walmart, Safeway, wherever the hell you are. There is NOTHING you can do to avoid them, with their little hopeful eyes beaming up at you.

“Would you like to buy some cookies?” They chirp innocently, full of excitement.

Well of freaking COURSE I do, you little demon! Of course I want to buy all forty seven remaining boxes of your crack-like cookies- I want to take them home and dig little holes beneath my house to hide them away in so that I don’t have to share them with my children. I want to sit in my car and eat as many as I can without throwing up before I go in to greet my family, because I know as soon as their beady little eyes fall on that box, it’s all over. Bye- bye Samoas. See ya later, Tagalongs. It’s been real, Thin Mints.

Not that it matters. Because every single time I step outside my house, there they are- little tiny, sweet and perky, Girl Scouts. The future of female America. I mean, it’s practically un-American NOT to buy a box or twelve. It’s like spitting on the American flag when you dis a Brownie, man. You are effectively crushing the hopes and dreams, maybe destroying the heart, soul and drive of a girl who  dreamed of being PRESIDENT someday. That is, until you came along and ruined EVERYTHING. So just suck it up and pull out your wallet, asshole. This kid wants to spend the night in the San Francisco Zoo, and win an Ipad. (Actual prizes in this area. What happened to the shitty bikes and cheap rewards of my childhood? An IPAD? I want a do-over!)

I promised myself that this year, I would be strong. I would not cave in to the nonsense. I told myself- “Courtney, since joining the gym, you have managed to GAIN six pounds. You watch “Cupcake Wars” on the treadmill. Your relationship with food is not healthy enough to deal with Girl Scout cookies. Just say NO.”

Hmm. This didn’t work for the war on drugs, and it never worked on me, either. My boss, who has a beautiful and awesome little girl who also happens to be a Brownie, approached my desk. I steeled myself for the sales pitch, throwing my shoulders back, setting my jaw resolutely. The conversation went something like this:

“So, we’re selling Girl Scout cook-”

“How much are they? I’ll buy five boxes!” I swear to you, she never got to finish her sentence before I was writing a check. What is WRONG with me?

Fast forward a few weeks. I had been doing really well. I was eating better, feeling better, back on top of my game. I show up for work, and there, piled on my desk in lurid reds, yellows, and greens, are the devil’s obesity bait. “Come on…” they giggled, “you KNOW you wanna.”

“Just ONE.” I told myself, ripping open the tagalongs, those delicious peanut-buttery, chocolate cookie dream fantasies. I’m not really clear on what, exactly, happened next. All I know for sure is that, a few hours later, I felt tremendously ill. Like, Oh my God, I need to lay my head down on this mouse pad, NOW, -kind of bad. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out why I felt so sick. So, as I lay there, I rolled my eyes over towards the box, and realized I had eaten EIGHT cookies. EIGHT. I don’t even know how it happened.

“Good.” I thought, “That’ll cure me for the rest of cookie season.” Oh, how naive. Before the day was even over, pretty much the second my nausea dissipated, I was back at it again. I had foolishly set the box on the empty passenger seat on the way home, and wasted no time at all polishing off another…ok, three other, cookies. Which, looking back, I don’t feel so bad about now, since the other four boxes were just inhaled by my so called loved ones the second I walked through the front door.

So far this year, I have managed only twice to walk away from armed Girl Scouts. Once, outside of Walmart, and only because I had no cash (not that that excuse will work- they take checks, those devils.) and I was too cold to be stopped on my way to the car. The other time was at farmer’s market in downtown Monterey, and that time, I think I was still driving around with a box or two stashed in my car.

“Sorry!” I called, rushing past, “I’ve already bought a bunch this year!”

“Well, thank you for supporting Girl Scouts!” They answered, diabolically.

“And thank you for contributing to my impending obesity!” I hollered back. They actually had the nerve to LAUGH.

Other than that, though, all victories have been theirs. Today, I munched my way through one entire sleeve of Thin Mints. I left the other sitting on my desk, assuring myself of further feelings of self loathing tomorrow. My boss said- “We’ll be out of cookies by this weekend!”

All I can say to that is, Thank You, Jesus. Even my fat pants are getting a little snug.

Posted in Uncategorized

Settle Down, Yoga Clown

Hahaha, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to write about the yoga class I took today or the crazy little light-bulb-over-the- head realization I had about the phrase “settling down” today. Lucky you! I decided to throw ’em both in the mix.

First, let’s get this yoga thing out of the way…so, yeah, I took my first yoga class ever today. It was, and I do not exaggerate here, one of the best exercise classes I have ever taken in my life. Also, it is the first exercise class I have ever taken in my life, so that may have a little something to do with it.

The things I really, really liked about it were a) it incorporates spirituality in exercise, which is so up my alley. I am not the kind of girl who can sit around meditating (although one can always hope the day will come), but give me a bendy chick in funky clothes telling me to “hug the universe” and I am SO on board. I’m hugging away over here, man. b) This is a great class for a white chick with no rhythm. All you have to do is follow simple directions like: “cross your left ankle over your right foot.”  These are instructions I can handle! Also, the teacher doesn’t even really care WHAT you do, as long as it “feels good”. She gives you a few options, you do the one that works best for you.  The fact that I get to stay on the floor, seated, most of the time, also makes me feel a little less insecure. I know how hot Zumba is right now, but there is NO WAY I would be able to keep up. NO WAY. Plus, no offense to the die-hards out there, but it doesn’t usually look so great. But whatever, I’m just jealous ’cause I’m left out. 

The last thing I’m going to say about yoga is that it may be a little more deadly than it feels at the time, because my abs are pretty much killing me right now. I’ll keep you all posted, but I will definitely be doing that again. I left there feeling amazing and awesome. Yay!

Ok, so on to the other silly thing I wanted to talk about: Settling Down. This really could be a whole blog on it’s own, but I’m going to keep this short and sweet as I am feeling lazy and sleepy all of the sudden. 

I don’t know about you, but when I think of “settling down”, it’s right up there with the term “ball and chain”, that whole feeling of  oppression, depression, confinement…you know? But for some odd reason, today it occurred to me that it can be taken in a very literal way. It takes time, sometimes a really long time, for people to settle in with one another. My relationship is a perfect example of this- the first couple of years were complete insanity. Fighting and misbehaving, breaking up and making up…lots and lots of making up. Then, I don’t know when or how it happened, we just sort of settled into a routine, things fell into place, and we settled down. Like two kids who had worn themselves out. There are times when I miss all the craziness, I’m not going to lie. But it sure is nice to be with someone you know so well, who knows you the same way. And that’s all I’m going to write about that…for now.

Goodnight!

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The Trials of Motherhood

If you know me at all in real life, you may have heard me express out loud (one or two million times) my aggravation with people who compare their dogs with children. It is no coincidence that the people who do this generally do not have actual children-I understand, yes, there is a great bond between a dog with whom you have lived and loved for many years and yourself. However, I will say here what I have often said to these “dog-moms” when they say “I have no kids…but I have two chihuahuas that are JUST like my babies.” 

If I left my daughter out in the yard all day with a bowl of water while I went to work, I would go to jail. If my daughter crapped on the floor and I rubbed her nose in it, that would be child abuse. And if I put my kid on a leash for a walk down the block…Wait. People actually DO that, don’t they? My GOD, that is creepy.

That being said, I have to tell you that. maybe I should have looked into dog ownership before I became a mom. Because this shit is hard. Last night, I had to take my oldest girl to the hospital because she had the WORST bloody nose I have EVER seen in my entire life. Why? Hmm…I am not sure whether to laugh or cry about this. The reason she had a bloody nose is because, in the midst of a heated argument about why I had decided not to buy her a new $250.00 smartphone, she got so upset and frustrated with me that words utterly failed her and she tried to blow a snot rocket at me.

I am not kidding you. I am trying to figure out how to explain to you what would have happened to me had I ever tried such a thing with my mother. All I can come up with is this- I probably would not be sitting here writing this right now as I would have suffered a horrible young death. If my mom hadn’t killed me, she certainly would have beat my ass. God, however, works in mysterious ways, and he must have known that this child needed a little shaking up, so he intervened on my behalf.

I have this new tactic that seems not to work very well, but having so few tools in my parenting arsenal, I do the best I can with what little I have. The tactic I am referring to here is what you might call “Calm and Detached.”. I figure it is better than getting down on her level and flipping completely out- except that, when I do this, it seems to make her even more insane. I’m not going to lie, there’s a small, awful part of me that enjoys seeing her buttons get pushed the way she ALWAYS pushes mine. So I was busy being calm and detached when the above mentioned snot-rocket was launched and all hell broke loose. I didn’t even look up from the magazine I was (pretending) reading.

“Mom! MOM! My nose is bleeding!”

“That’s what you get.” I told her.

“MOM! What’s HAPPENING!!??” Okay, so the level of panic in my usually not panicky kid did strike a chord in me as I glanced over. And HOLY SHIT. 

I have never, ever in my life seen blood shoot out of someones nose like that. Trust me, should you ever see blood pumping out of your child’s face, leaving puddles on the floor, you pretty much forget about whatever stupid thing they did to cause it twelve seconds earlier. I tried to stay calm, I really did. It didn’t work, though. I sort of remember yelling at Devon to “CALL 911!”, being mad when he refused, throwing Aisley in the car and rushing off to the hospital. She had blood on her shoes, her pants and her sweatshirt. She had blood covering her hands, her neck and her face. On the way there, she said “Mom, maybe you should drive faster, because I am really scared.” So I did. She’s really not a kid who gets too worried about much-not like me, who will go into blind panic. She stays pretty level headed about these things. On the way there, she started crying. I drove a little faster, still.

It takes about ten minutes to get from my house to the hospital, and by the time we drove into the parking lot, the bleeding had slowed down a lot. We thought about going home, but she said “Maybe my brain is bleeding- we should probably just go in.” And though I doubted it very much, there was a teensey part of me that thought “Well, you never know.”, so we went in.

I’m glad we did. For one, I needed the peace of mind that she was really okay, and so did she. Secondly, it was pretty hilarious making my tearful and blood covered child admit to the doctor exactly how she came to be in this sorry state. (“can I put this in the dictation?” he asked. “Oh, absolutely”, I replied, delighted.) But most importantly of all, because, weird as it sounds, I think we BOTH needed a little fear to shake us out of this funk we have been in. We’ve been living together with this hostility between us for so long, I think we’ve just gotten used to it. Seeing her so frightened and upset reminded me that whatever else is going on, she is still my little girl. I would die, I mean, seriously, I could not go on, if anything were to happen to her.

We came home in much better spirits. She cleaned herself up and actually made her sister a bottle. I could count on no hands the number of time that has happened.Earlier that night, as we sat in the waiting room, I had put my arm around her and tried to pull her close. I tried to tell her that I wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her. I could feel her resistance, and see how afraid she was, and I understood that we have turned a corner somewhere along the way- one where I can’t fix everything, nor can I make her feel safer by pretending that it’s true.

But I can tell you this- I would certainly try. No matter what else is going on in this crazy busy life of mine, if one of my kids needed me, I would be there, period. If all I can do is sit beside them and hold their hands, you better believe I will be sitting there, holding on. I may have to look real hard to see that child I love so much in that fourteen year old, but she is there. And I love her beyond reason. No matter how many snot rockets she’s got up her, er,…sleeve.