My husband was gone before dawn, heading out of town for work.
It’s kind of like waking up to realize you’re on a bus with a bomb about to detonate and you have ONLY 45 MINUTES TO SAVE EVERYONE ONBOARD.
After a speed-shower, I start by trying to dress my son who spends the next ten minutes fake crying and wiggling away from me half-naked.
I move on to my daughter, ignoring my son whining in the background for “daddy.”
She immediately starts to battle me over whether she can keep on her pink knee-high socks that she slept in, then arguing that pink LEGGINGS are NOT the same as TIGHTS and she wants the TIGHTS.
I go along with it.
Downstairs they both stoop down to pet our dog Frankie, who they hate 98% of the time.
Huck starts yelling at Alma, “MY DOG, MY DOG!”
I say, “He’s your dog, my dog, Alma’s dog, EVERYBODY’S DOG!!”
No makeup, no breakfast… I pour Golden Grahams into a couple of bowls for the kids and shove them out the front door.
In the car, my daughter reaches up to touch her headband and shrieks in horror.
“This isn’t the one with the flower!! This is Hello Kitty!! I wanted the one with the flower!!!”
She is literally hysterical.
I tell her there is no time to go back inside. I have buckled them both in. I can’t unload them and drag them inside because she suddenly despises Hello Kitty.
So, I tell her to stop crying, back out of the driveway and whip off down the road to try and reach daycare the second they open the doors. (they open at 7am, my work day starts at 7:30am… for every minute past 7am traffic increases exponentially by at least 5 minutes. I hate word problems, but you get it.)
As I peel out, I hear a strange scraping noise and the sound of plastic hitting pavement.
I watch in my rear view mirror as my daughter’s plastic bowl of cereal bounces down the road.
I left it on the roof of the car.
So, then she realizes the cereal is NOT in her lap and starts screaming about that.
I scream for Huck to share with her. He meekly hands her a single Golden Graham and she shouts through sobs, “I want my own bowl!”
I get her to be quiet in time for arriving at daycare moments later.
Rush them inside, rush back out, hop in the car, speed off only to be stopped immediately by dozens of drivers turning onto the next street to take their kids to high school.
I end up behind a school bus on Hillsborough Avenue that stops to pick up kids at least 6 times. Since when are bus stops lined up alongside a major thoroughfare??
I arrive at work ridiculously late.
Gas station shooting, students stabbed at school, Reeva Steenkamp’s bloodied head being compared to a watermelon.
Before I have even written a tease, I am already getting shit for the video that it will show. It’s not written. No instructions for editors. No video chosen. Yet, someone is already complaining.
Then it’s “You wrote the cars recalled were ‘produced.’ Don’t you mean manufactured?”
(AP wires said ‘produced’)
“You say the ‘mystery man.’ If the identity is a mystery, how do you know it’s a man?”
(the MAN went to the school to drop off the wallet but did not reveal his name)
“Is Obama presiding over the memorial service at Fort Hood?”
(No, it’s going to be someone even bigger! George Carlin’s ghost!)
I think I forgot to put on deodorant this morning.
If I die in some weird car wreck today, I am wearing Wonder Woman underwear.
I better be careful today or the ME will be joking about my stinky body and humiliating underthings.
And people wonder why I find it completely reasonable to have a glass or two of wine or a couple beers after work. Harumph.
We finally watched Gravity last night!
So, now I am suffering from PTSD.
I spent the entire movie sweating and holding my breath. Sandra Bullock and I nearly passed out simultaneously.
Forget about sequestration. If NASA wanted to end their space program they could’ve just shown aspiring astronauts that movie.
After spending 91 minutes pumped up on adrenaline all I wanted to do was go to sleep.
I am reading my book, about to drift off to peaceful images of Palisades Park in the 50’s when I hear Huck screaming.
I ignore it.
His cries become more plaintive.
They get louder.
Finally, I go to his room and find him wrapped up in his blanket like a cocoon, his hair soaked in sweat.
My first guess is he just had a nightmare about being in a full nelson with a cuddly dude in a fuzzy blanket covered in choo choo trains.
I rub his back and remain half-asleep, hoping he’ll soon join me.
But, the crying won’t stop.
I offer him water.
No reaction, wailing louder.
At this point, I start trying to find the little marble he went to bed with. He uses it like a security blanket. (I’m telling you, the kid is OBSESSED with balls)
I nearly have a panic attack considering the possibility that this ball is at the bottom of his stomach instead of just stuck under the mattress.
I say this to my husband who stomps groggily into the room and says grumpily, “I’ll take care of him.”
I repeat my concern about the missing marble and and am greeted with a cranky glare.
So, I go back to bed to keep reading. It will take me another 20 minutes to fall asleep again.
As I finally feel my eyes getting dry from the tired, I hear a loud thud followed by a high-pitched whinnying cry.
Artax is not dying in the swamp of sadness in Alma’s room.
Alma has fallen off the bed again. I get her tucked back in.
Sleep eludes me for the next hour, like my brain is preparing for the possibility that I will have to rush to save my shrieking children from a burning building ANY SECOND.
My husband found our daughter sleeping on the floor of her bedroom this morning. I guess those pool noodles really aren’t effective “guard rails.”
Weakened by the horrors of my night, I spilled raw sugar all over the counter, floor and Alma while making coffee.
I spilled refried beans on my shirt.
As I scramble to get out of the door, Alma says, “I have to go poo poo.”
I kiss my son goodbye, him ducking to see Tom and Jerry around my head.
I kiss my husband who looks miserable. (or maybe it’s the mustache)
I kiss my daughter, who smiles sweetly but doesn’t even say goodbye.
Then I hit traffic on the way to work and arrive with an extra dose of PTSD to start the day.
(My apologies to anyone who actually suffers from PTSD. Clearly, I am exaggerating and it is a serious disorder which I do not suffer from)
(Warning: If you read my posts to have a chuckle or bond over the fact that little kids suck, you may want to skip this one.)
Ever find yourself trying to hide the tears streaming down your face at work because you’re overwhelmed by all of the tragedy in the world?
But, that probably has something to do with the fact that my job is reading and writing about all of the tragedy in the world.
Being a news producer, I try very hard to make stories more meaningful. When I am tasked with writing a dinky 45 second story on an art gallery and scholarship program in honor of two teens murdered 3 years ago by their own mother, I put real effort into it.
I find good pictures of the victims, check out their father’s Facebook page… and then I cry.
Because the two teenagers were once babies.
Because this is what their father wrote on their birthdays:
On your 16th birthday, I should be sharing some football and Krispy Kremes with you and laughing at your jokes until our stomachs hurt. Instead I find myself struggling to find adequate words to express the joy you continue to bring to me and to the lives of so many. I am so proud to be your Daddio. I miss you more with each passing day.
Love you forever …+1 with Beau Schenecker and Calyx Schenecker
Calyx, missing you is the hardest part. Celebrating you is the easy part. So on the eve of your 19th birthday, I join thousands who rejoice in having your presence in their lives. From your first day on this Earth, you set out to make the world a better place…Oh my, how you have greatly exceeded expectations! I love you forever + 1, Daddio with Calyx Schenecker and Beau Schenecker
Then, I move on from that story to a 20 second update on the Washington mudslides.
We’ve been updating the death toll for weeks. There’s only so many ways to talk about the search for the missing.
But, they named the latest victim.
I could leave it at that.
Or, I could go look up more information about him and find his wife’s Facebook page.
Their 4 year old son was rescued by helicopter, the mud so thick it ripped his pants off as they hoisted him to safety.
Their 2 year old daughter is still missing and presumed dead.
Their other two children are confirmed dead.
This is a woman who has lost her husband and three children and yet she still refers to the rescue of her son as a miracle.
Time to take a break and check in on my Facebook feed… where I get updates on a friend of a friend’s daughter who has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
She posts pictures like this and somehow remains upbeat. Her strength blows my effing mind.
Pre-hydration went well-much better than last time! First chemo was started about an hour ago and the second will be going up soon. Chloe didn’t want to nap earlier so, of course, when the nurses started her Benadryl at 5:15 to pre-medicate her she passed out cold. It may be a very long night or very early morning!
I try to keep my posts upbeat, sarcastic and brutally honest.
Some days I can’t keep up the charade.
Some days are just heartbreaking.
The only benefit of spending my days writing and reading about such heart wrenching, soul crushing things is that I love my kids more than you do.
Kidding, of course.
But, it does put things in healthy (or unhealthy) perspective.
It is the reason why every single stupid-cute thing my kids do makes me worship the ground they walk on.
It’s why I post pictures of them obsessively and daydream about being a stay-at-home-mom.
I want to spend every second loving my children, because you never know when you could end up being the story someone is hunting for more details about to make it more “meaningful.”
Oh, and one more thing.
Damn you Viral Nova for being a perpetual buzz kill.
Maybe this was just one long excuse for why I’m not gonna workout today. Who can go to the gym after that?
Today at work someone was asking for suggestions of a musical instrument for their young daughter to take up.
I am the wrong person to ask.
I am a chronic quitter, always have been.
When I was in elementary school I took gymnastics classes. Within weeks I was told I was “too tall” to be in the tumbling class and “not advanced enough” for the next class.
So, I quit.
I took up the flute, but learning how to read music gave me the same kind of panic attack as those timed multiplication charts.
So, I quit.
I took Jazz dance with a friend of mine from the ‘hood and couldn’t memorize the steps to save my life. Not to mention that I resembled a knock-kneed skeleton on crack.
So, I quit.
I was an aspiring artist for awhile, until I had a teacher who was a tad too touchy feely in middle school. I figured if I started drawing like a kindergartener, he’d keep his man paws off my bony shoulders.
So, I quit.
In 6th grade, I was forced by my mother to audition for a play. (there were tears, refusals… much drama, how apropos) I screwed up my lines the very first night of the run and… wanted to quit.
But, the lure of the stage was too great. The chance to be someone else, so that even if you DID mess up, it was almost like it wasn’t you anyway, so who cares?
No groping theatre teachers either, for obvious reasons.
In retrospect, I would’ve excelled at soccer or swimming. But, those weren’t given as options back then.
Everything was clearly delineated by gender.
My big brothers played football, soccer, did karate, track and even golf.
I… played in the backyard pool and read a lot of books with my door shut.
Now, I am at a loss when it comes to how to go about getting my children involved in extracurricular activities.
I tried to offer my daughter every possible sports option, even the clearly masculine ones like football. (I did forget about wrestling, but I don’t even want to watch my son wrestle. I don’t want to watch anyone wrestle)
She immediately expressed an interest in dancing (which I’ve mentioned is not going to be her strong suit) and horse back riding. (which could kill her)
My son’s obsession with balls and in particular kicking them will make soccer the likely choice.
But, how does a quitter teach their children not to quit?
How does someone with zero aptitude or athleticism ensure that their children lead healthy, well-rounded little lives?
I see other parents generally pushing their kids toward their favorite activities.
The hockey dad puts his son in hockey.
The Capoeira mom puts the kids in Capoeira. (Hi, Lissette!)
So, what does the mom who writes news, reads and drags herself to the Y to workout put her kids in?
“Honey, I am signing you up for boredom on Saturdays and Mediocrity on Sundays. Wednesday nights are for slovenly laziness and if the spirit moves you, perhaps a vigorous stroll.”
I asked her what it was.
She said, “Dirt. I dig and dig and dig at school.”
I asked, “Why?”
She responded, “I dig for worms and snakes.” “I dig for worms and snakes.” “I dig for worms and snakes.”
Seriously, she said it three times while looking zoned out. Sounded just like Rain Man.
Yet, I find my daughter’s bizarre eccentricities endearing.
Occasionally while I’m putting her to sleep, she launches into rapid-fire monologues, complete non sequiturs.
Last night, she randomly said, “Jimmy James (boy from school) can’t find my house. It’s way too far away. We can’t find his house either. It’s way, way, way, way far away.”
So, I’m wondering if they plot escape from the playground at daycare together. Then I picture them bumping into the enormous gator that lives in the lake nearby. (Reason #465 why I wish I was a stay-at-home mom.)
As I’m reading her Mother Goose, she starts twirling my hair with her finger and says, “I like your hair growing long like mine.”
Then she says, “Ha! You cut my hair outside at our old house!” (Holy crap, that was at least a year and a half ago. I don’t even remember it.)
Then she gets obsessed with the fact that there is no actual Mother Goose inside the Mother Goose book, so I have to go find the other Mother Goose book we have so she can flip through the entire thing to find said gander.
As I walk out to leave, she tells me it makes her happy that daddy helped her put on her sneakers and that I let her wear them to bed. She explains that she likes sneakers with dresses now.
She’s random, weird and perhaps slightly unhinged and I adore her.