I’ll Never Show My Face There Again

I respect and love my husband, which is why I would never, ever purposefully embarrass him at his place of employment.

Accidentally (like this day)? Perhaps. But definitely never on purpose. No. We need his job.

I had a good streak going for the first 13 years of our relationship; I never bothered him at work, and I never showed up looking crazy, homicidal, or inappropriately dressed. We never made out in the parking lot. We kept it professional, even when we worked together.

However, this year, things have taken somewhat of a downhill turn. 2016 has been the worst. It started with me getting a major concussion and is apparently ending with me making a complete ass of myself every time I venture out into public.

The kids are on Thanksgiving Break, which means that I have all three of them at home all day, every day, until November 28. No, I’m not counting down the days until they go back to school, why do you ask? Is it the crazy look in my eyes, or the increasingly-high pitch of my voice?

Yesterday I had to take my 5-year-old to the dentist, which required a lot of arranging and re-arranging of childcare because the first rule of motherhood is that you don’t bring more than one kid at at time to the dentist. I was rushed and short on patience and time and after we were done, I went to Robbie’s office to pick up my oldest, who was there waiting.

I decided to leave my purse in the van, because frankly, I was sick of lugging it around. I helped Asher out and locked the doors. We made the long journey inside the building — and as a side note, today was their Thanksgiving feast, so all of the employees were milling around, because OF COURSE THEY WERE — and we walked to Robbie’s office where Maverick was sitting alone, playing on his Nintendo.

“Where’s your Daddy?”

No response.

“Maverick? Where’s Daddy?”

“Oh, hi. Uhhh … I don’t know where he is.”

“What do you mean?”

I looked around the office. Robbie’s sunglasses and keys were on his desk. It looked like he’d just been there, so where did he go? I stepped into the main part of the building to see if he was out talking to someone, but he was nowhere in sight. After waiting a few more minutes, I picked up the receiver of the phone on his desk and called his cell. It went to voicemail.

Briefly, I considered walking back to the van to get my phone to text him, but when I looked over at the boys — one who didn’t even notice we were there, and another who was busy stamping every single important document on the desk with a rubber signature stamp — I realized that I didn’t want to leave them together, alone, in the office. I also really didn’t want to bring them with me. After a few more moments, I decided that I didn’t have time for this shit and I asked his co-worker where he was. The co-worker, with a plateful of food in one hand and a fork in the other, shrugged.

I’d been there for 10 minutes and I was over it. I scrawled a note on an envelope telling him that I was taking Maverick and asking him to call me, and we headed out. As we walked by the men’s restroom, it dawned on me.

He was in the bathroom.

Now, I know it’s not entirely rational, but that made me irate. Who poops for 15 minutes? Who poops for 15 minutes at work? Clearly, he does this at home — but the fact that he gets to do it at work too?! THAT BULLSHIT SENT ME OVER THE EDGE.

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After he walked us out to the parking lot and helped load the kids into the car, and after I made sure the doors were closed so they couldn’t hear me, I turned to him and said the following in my big, strong, outside voice:

“What were you doing in there?”

“Pooping.”

“THAT WHOLE TIME?”

“Yes.”

“What else do you do?”

“I read and I poop.”

“That’s just not normal. Do you do that every day? If I worked with a man who disappeared into the bathroom for that long every day, I’d think he had a problem. I’D THINK HE WAS JERKING OFF OR SOMETHING. WHAT IF PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE IN THERE LOOKING AT PORN ON YOUR PHONE? WHAT IF YOUR CO-WORKERS THINK YOU’RE THE KIND OF MAN WHO WOULD JERK OFF AT WORK?”

I stopped talking when I noticed the stricken look on his face. He took a step toward me and said, very quietly, “There’s someone right behind you.”

And when I turned around, there was one of his co-workers, pretending not to hear me shouting about masturbation.

I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be showing my face there again anytime soon. I think it’s also safe to say that I won’t be invited to.

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I Don’t Want To Go Back In Time

I cannot tell you how deep I had to dig to keep my emotions in check this summer and how deeply I will fall into a cocktail (or five) when school starts again.

But today, I snapped out of survival mode and realized that I made it. I MADE IT!

My oldest starts 3rd grade tomorrow. “I don’t need you to drive me to school on the first day,” he said. “I can take the bus.” He looked at me and grinned and all the sudden I could see what he’s going to look like when I send him off the college, and I felt momentarily sad.

His little brother is starting Kindergarten at the same elementary school this year, and my long time dream of putting both boys on the school bus and waving goodbye will finally be realized. Can I be honest? I’m not sad, or weepy, or wistful for when they were smaller. I’m proud. I’m elated, actually. I’m happy to have made it to this point in one piece, and I don’t want to go back in time. I want to revel in this.

No one wears diapers anymore.

Everyone talks in coherent sentences.

I’ve taught 3 human beings how to use the toilet and how to stay with me in the store; things can only continue to improve from here.

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Summer, 2016

I see photos of myself from 8 years ago when I first became a mom and I feel a little sorry for that version of me. I don’t want to go back in time and be her again. I don’t want to hold my babies or rock them or see them in their infancy or wish for time to go backwards. I MADE IT, which means I have overcome obstacles, which means I have hope to continue overcoming obstacles, which requires me to continue moving forward.

This summer, I got soaked with water by the boys, who thought it would be funny to spray me after I asked them repeatedly to turn off the water. My kids kept me so busy that I never got around to changing clothes, until hours later, I realized that they were dry again.

This summer, we were lazy. I let them have unlimited screen time and we all ate junk food and laid around the house like total couch potatoes. It was amazing. Now I understand why people make this a full-time thing.

This summer, I didn’t work out. I didn’t weigh myself. I put on the same, falling-apart, ill-fitting bathing suit day after day and got in the pool with my kids. I’m 10 pounds heavier than I was last summer, and caring a lot less about how fat my thighs look.

This summer, I really enjoyed my kids. I did. But now, I’m ready for them to go to school, because I need to shake off the experience of having people with me 24/7 for three straight months, and that can only be done by using expletives and bargain shopping alone. By myself. Without anyone hiding in the clothes racks.

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How Things Change

I remember a very long time ago when we had a baby and I was worried that Robbie was going to say inappropriate words in front of it. I was also concerned about food additives and a whole host of other things that I no longer have the time or energy to care about, like whether or not it was okay for my child to breathe in the fumes from Clorox Wipes and what was actually in baby formula.

Fast-forward to 5:00 this morning when our third child climbed into our bed, alerting me by repeated bludgeoning to the head and face, and I flung my arm over to hit my sleeping husband.

“Pepper’s in our bed,” I mumbled, as her knee dug into my gut.

Nothing.

“PEPPER’S IN HERE,” I repeated. Now she was pulling on the sheets, attempting to smother me to death with her battered sheep lovey.

Nothing.

He wouldn’t take his CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) mask off, which is pretty much a passive aggressive way of saying fuck you, I’m not dealing with it. I’m basically blind and deaf at night; I have terrible eyesight without my contacts or glasses, and I’ve been wearing earplugs for over a decade, so I’m familiar with passive aggressive ways to pretend to not know something is going on. I am well versed in it. Also, I have sleep issues, and that makes me difficult to deal with.

Okay, fine. It makes me a raging bitch.

Once someone shakes me from deep, precious slumber, it can take me literally an hour to fall back asleep, and even once I do finally konk out again, the quality always sucks from that point forward.

What was that? Did you just ask why?

Because I lie there and my mind starts racing thinking of all the things I need to remember to do in three hours when my alarm goes off, and then I start wondering what I forgot to put on my mental to-do list, becoming angry at myself for not setting the coffeemaker to turn on by itself at 6 a.m. because I AM NOT GOING TO FEEL LIKE MAKING IT AFTER MISSING THIS MUCH SLEEP, and the anxieties just spiral off from there like tiny insomniac tornadoes.

So, back to the child that was poking me in the face: once I realized that I was going to have to put her back in her bed, I yelled, “FUCK, FINE, I’LL DO IT.” So much for worrying about my husband’s mouth in front of our kids.

And that is how much things change between the first and third-born child.

Bedtime

I can’t be mad at this cutie pie.

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The Day My Pride Died

Last week I made an enormous ass of myself at my husband’s place of employment.

He’s a manager at a car dealership, and I don’t know what kind of people the other managers have coming to visit them at work, but I highly doubt Robbie will ask me to stop by and visit him again anytime soon.

I could offer up a thousand reasons why I was so stressed out, but the summarized version is that I was out running errands with two of my children, trying to beat the rain. We were right across the street from where he works, and I thought, you know what, I should call Robbie and ask him to come meet us for lunch. That would be a nice thing to do. So I did.

I’m a good wife. A thoughtful wife.

He said he could not meet us, but would we like to stop by the dealership instead? He just moved to a new store, and I have not met any of his new co-workers yet or seen his fancy new office.

I looked at the sky, which was black. I looked at our two youngest children, who were both covered in cinnamon sugar. I looked at myself, and quickly looked away. This was NOT a good time to make a first impression.

“Of course,” I said. “We’ll be there in a few minutes.”

The dealership was very busy, and because I was distracted by all of the activity, I pulled in the wrong way and a mail truck was blocking my path. Robbie emerged from the building and watched as I tried and failed to maneuver our gigantic van into a parking spot as our over-excited children shrieked and screamed “DADDDDDDDY! DAAAAAAAAADDY!” from the backseat.

My 4-year-old unbuckled himself and slammed into the back of the front passenger seat as I rolled over a curb. “WHY ARE YOU UNBUCKLED?!” I screeched as I threw it into reverse. By now a crowd was gathering. Robbie visibly cringed as I tried once more to squeeze our vehicle into a too-small spot. And that is when it happened.

I snapped.

Maybe it was all the errand-running. Maybe my nerves were shot, and my blood sugar was low and I was over caffeinated. Maybe I should have declined his offer to come visit and maybe I should have worn a more flattering outfit and MAYBE I HAVE NO BUSINESS DRIVING THIS MOTHER FUCKER OF A VAN.

Muttering unrepeatable phrases under my breath, I squealed off, again in the wrong direction, trying to turn around. By now everyone was definitely staring, and I was furious — with myself, with my husband, with the screeching children, and with life in general.

I drove directly into a dead end portion of the Hyundai lot and screamed. Then I realized that my window was rolled down.

pRIDE

This is the actual dealership where my pride passed away.

Two salesmen were watching me, and I imagined the following conversation taking place:

Salesman #1: Hey man, do you see the new finance guy’s batshit crazy wife attempting a 3-point turn in that tiny area surrounded by brand new cars?

Salesman #2: DUDE.

Salesman #1: I hope she hits one. That would be AMAZING.

Salesman #2: It’s looking like she might.

Salesman #1: Damn, she made it out.

I finally made it back around to the appropriate parking space. My husband unloaded our stunned children and I sat in the car, too mortified to exit the vehicle. “We can sneak in through the courtyard,” Robbie said. “There’s a back door. No one will see you.”

I got a baseball cap out of my bag and pulled it low over my face. I avoided eye contact as we sneaked in through the back door. Because that’s what my life has become.

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Pick Up The Phone: Being Responsible For Your Own Happiness

My platform is rooted in honesty.

Lately I’ve felt like a liar because I used to be a humor writer, I think. But then a lot of bad things happened in my life, and I couldn’t find humor as much anymore. But you guys stick with me anyway, even when I write about things like my mom having cancer and about my need for anxiety medication and my uncle getting murdered in my childhood home, and my head injury which, let’s face it, COMPLETELY KNOCKED ME OFF MY GAME.

Here is the truth: I got very depressed in February. Maybe I was depressed in January, and December, and November, and October. I don’t know because I’m in the thick of life right now. I’m swallowed up. I’m in the weeds, you guys. It’s disorienting and I have claustrophobia and I hate how this feels. I hate how it makes me anxious, and my anxiety manifests in anger, so I find myself yelling at my family a lot when they are just doing normal family things like smearing toothpaste on clean hand towels and leaving crumbs all over the floor.

They deserve a better me. I deserve a better me.

So I started therapy — for myself and for my oldest child. It turns out that I am not crazy, it’s just that the anxiety medication I was on was making me depressed and also I have a lot on my plate and my brain was bruised.

Maybe the knock to the head changed my brain chemistry, or maybe I just didn’t need that particular medication anymore, but either way I flushed all those tiny white pills down the toilet and breathed a sigh of relief.

I breathed another sigh of relief when we were told that our child isn’t crazy — in fact, he is quite the opposite. Extremely bright and polite to everyone except for his parents, so we can rule out Oppositional Defiant Disorder (thank God).

Maverick has ADHD. And I’ve long suspected it and I knew it, deep in my soul, but I just didn’t want it to be so. I knew he was hard to parent. So, so hard. He never has been much of a sleeper; he stopped napping at 18 months old. He’s extremely defiant and stubborn and loud and messy, more so than other boys. But he’s also brilliant and charming, just like his Daddy.

OMG … his Daddy.

His Daddy has ADHD, too.

THAT MUST BE WHY I FELL IN LOVE WITH HIM, BECAUSE HE WAS SO QUIRKY AND BRILLIANT AND UNPREDICTABLE AND NOW WE HAVE BEEN TOGETHER FOR 13 YEARS AND SOMETIMES HE MAKES ME WANT TO SMOTHER HIM WITH A PILLOW BUT I DON’T BECAUSE I REALLY DO LOVE HIM.

I married the right man for me, but it doesn’t mean that we are without our struggles. When we come out on the other side of this difficult phase, I’d maybe like to just forget it ever happened. It’s hard. Marriage is hard. But would I want to tough it out with anyone else?

No.

Mommy and Mav

Back to Maverick, all of the parenting tactics that work for other people? None of them were working for us. We have very low lows and very high highs and as much as I struggled, I fought for my son because I believe in him.

But then I reached a point where I was out of ideas. I needed help.

The day I sat in that dark gray chair decorated with silver studs and the counselor said, “You have done a fantastic job for the past 7 years, but you must be emotionally exhausted,” I burst into tears.

Yes. I am emotionally exhausted.

“Parenting is supposed to be exhausting,” she said. “In fact, if you aren’t exhausted, you probably aren’t doing it right.” She went on to say a whole bunch of other validating, complimentary things that gave me hope and let me know that I did a good thing by seeking help.

People say all the time that it takes a village to raise our children, and lament the modern loss of the village. I say that we have to make our own damn village. My village consists of a therapist for myself, a therapist for my child, teachers for all three of my children, and a handful of extraordinary friends.

Extraordinary friends get a phone call halfway through getting hair extensions put in and head over right away to drive you to the hospital because you’re feeling weird 6 weeks after a concussion and need to have your head scanned again.

Extraordinary friends learn your actual weight — which is not the weight on your driver’s license — because you have to say it out loud in the E.R. triage.

They also understand that they are never speak of it. Ever.

Part of being a grown up is knowing what you need and then going out and getting it, because grown ups are responsible for their own happiness and well-being. So today, my friends, I ask you to take stock of your own lives and make sure you have what you need.

And if you don’t, then WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING READING THIS?! Pick up the phone and make shit happen.

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The Unexpected Is The Best Part

“I’m your Venus, I’m your fire. At your desire…”

I was singing “Venus” by Bananarama at the top of my lungs in the car (don’t judge—you know you do it too) when my son piped up from the backseat.

“Why are you singing a song about penises?”

I stopped singing.

“‘I’m your penis, I’m your fire. At your desire,’ is that what the song is saying, Mommy? Because that does not seem appropriate.”

Children: They wreak havoc on our lives, turning what used to be normal upside down and shaking it with their grimy little hands. Sometimes it feels like they are literally trying to kill us—or at the very least, commit us—and then they make up for all of it at once by saying or doing something absolutely unexpected.

Motherhood is chock-full of the unexpected. I now tell my friends who are new mothers to throw out every baby book they acquired during pregnancy. Burn them. They are of no use to you now. There is no way to know what to expect, because children, and people in general, are full of surprises.

There is simply no way to prepare.

The first time I gave birth, someone handed me a baby. It took a while for it to sink in that he was mine. I stared down at a tiny human who was somehow completely like me and also nothing like me, and realized that everything I thought I knew was wrong and none of the knowledge I had worked so hard to amass during pregnancy applied anymore.

This actually worked out perfectly since I was too tired to remember it anyway. I threw it all out and started over.

That’s parenthood in a nutshell.

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Practicing his Michael Jackson dance moves.

Parenting is a job so complex that experts have been trying to guide us in it for decades, and yet still none of us have it figured out—including the experts. They waffle back and forth on co-sleeping and breastfeeding and what is safe to eat and drink during pregnancy. If you can imagine it, there’s been an “expert” study done on it.

Throw it out.

We are to love our children, provide for their basic needs, and follow our instincts. Those things look vastly different for each family, because we are all different. Trying to force your situation into a neatly labeled box because someone else told you that’s what is best is only asking for disappointment and guilt.

It’s hard to set aside your own expectations and allow yourself to be fluid enough to bend, to be open to seeing your child for the unique person that he is, and to adjust accordingly. But motherhood is as much about refining yourself as it is about refining your children.

There comes a point when you realize that you are the expert.

After explaining to my son that the song was about Venus, the goddess of love, and NOT about penises, I realized once again how lucky I am to have the kind of kid who yells unexpectedly from the backseat. Not once was that topic addressed in any of my parenting books.

“I don’t want my penis to catch fire!” he shouted.

“That would be terrible!” I yelled back.

There is really no guide for moments like this. And that’s OK. The best part about being a parent is not knowing what’s next.

© 2016 Harmony Hobbs, as first published on Scary Mommy.

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Toddlers: Making Fools of Parents Since The Beginning of Time

Toddlers love to make fools of us.

Have you noticed? They wait until you’re in a busy parking lot unloading a month’s worth of groceries to melt down and act demon-possessed. They scream for waffles and you finally break down and make waffles and then they scream “NO WAFFLE! YUCKY WAFFLE!” and throw it on the floor.

You are so hungry from all of the intense parenting that you dust it off and eat it yourself. But then they cry because they are hungry.

They cry because you ate their waffle.

Cry car

A toddler will proudly recite her full name and phone number over and over, yet when asked to repeat it for an audience (after you have bragged about it incessantly) she remains silent because she’s too busy pooping her pants to be bothered.

Last week, our city was shut down due to severe weather. All of the kids were home, but Robbie was at work because car dealerships never, ever close, even in the face of imminent tornadoes and hail. After all, someone somewhere might still trek out in the middle of destruction to buy a brand-new car, because obviously the best time to make an investment is when you have to drive it home in a hailstorm.

I was already having a hard day because between weather warnings, Asher, the 4-year-old, got super sick and threw up everywhere. I asked Maverick to take his little sister somewhere else in the house to play while I cleaned up the mess. It took me a good 30 minutes to get myself, Asher, and the house back under control, and by the time I was done, the other two were done playing.

Maverick pulled me aside and said, “I think Pepper has one of my marbles.”

I looked at her. She stared back silently.

She had a marble in her mouth.

After I freaked out and removed it, I made a huge production of telling her that only food goes in our mouths. She just laughed.

A few minutes later, I was standing in the play room when she walked up to me with a AA battery in her hand. I took it from her and asked, “Where did you get this?” I discovered that she had removed the bottom of an LED candle that requires two AA batteries to work. I had one of them, and the other one was missing.

I forced myself to remain calm as I searched for the missing battery. It was nowhere to be found.

“Pepper, where is the other battery?”

She looked straight at me and said, “I ate it. It’s in my tummy.”

That is when I panicked.

I made Maverick help me look — his little brother was still sitting exactly where I’d left him, with a mixing bowl in his lap in case he needed to throw up again — and we couldn’t find it anywhere. I asked her again where the battery was and she said, this time more emphatically, “IT’S IN MY TUMMY.”

I called 911.

The nice lady on the other end of the line said yes, my child definitely needed to go to the E.R. I told her to send an ambulance, because I didn’t know which one of my family members I would be able to get in touch with, and I was home alone with the kids … one of whom was projectile vomiting.

The next 20 minutes were a blur of frantic phone calls and adults arriving to help — first, my dad, followed by my in-laws, and finally, the ambulance.

The EMT’s acted like they had ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD, meandering slowly up to my house and into my kitchen. I mean, I understand that a child swallowing a battery is not as emergent, as, say, a child who fell in glass. Because that has also happened in our house, a few years ago. But still — to me, this was emergent.

They slowly nodded their heads and said yes, she needed to go to the hospital to get checked out, but they couldn’t take her. Not because taking her would leave us with an astronomical ambulance bill. Not because they needed to leave and assist someone who was about to bleed to death. Nope. They couldn’t take her to the hospital because they didn’t have a car seat.

I’m going to let that sink in for a moment.

“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE, I’M TAKING HER,” I said. And we left.

The emergency room was packed. Cell phones were blaring with severe weather warnings and they had us all crammed in the interior of the hospital, away from windows and doors, so there was nowhere to sit and there is no telling what kind of illness we picked up there.

Pepper ER

Once we were in a room, the nurse was incredulous: “You think this kid ate a AA battery?” And I said, “THAT’S RIGHT” and tried not to snicker as he had this ridiculous line of questioning with her wherein she repeated everything he said and made him look like a absolute moron.

***

Nurse: “Hi, there.”

Pepper: (Silent stare.)

Nurse: “What did you do with the battery?”

Pepper: “What did you do with the battery?”

Nurse: “Did you throw the battery away?”

Pepper: “Did you throw the battery away?”

Nurse: “Did you put the battery in your tummy?”

Pepper: “Did you put the battery in your tummy?”

***

We got an X-ray.

Our toddler did not eat a battery. She was also growing increasingly annoyed with us and with the entire situation. I was past my breaking point and started feeding her half-wrapped candy from the bottom of my purse just to keep her happy until we could get the hell out of there.

We paid $150 to the hospital for their services, marking the THIRD TIME WE HAVE DONE THIS SINCE 2016 BEGAN, and went home.

The tornadoes headed East.

Robbie went back to work.

And I mustered, from the very bottom of the deepest reserves, the energy to uncork a bottle of wine.

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The Concussion Diaries

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mother of three, recovering from a brain injury, then I’m your gal.

What’s that? It’s never crossed your mind?

WELL. Maybe it’s time your eyes were opened, my friend, because it’s dangerous out there.

On January 4, 2016, the day before school was scheduled to resume after the longest holiday break ever, I was standing in the living room with my back to the couch. My oldest child, age 7, leaped onto my back in a crazy ninja move normally reserved for daddies. I fell and hit the back of my head, and the rest has been … let’s see, how can I put this? FUCKING TERRIBLE.

*I won’t allow myself to wallow in despair and whine about the struggle of not being able to drive for almost 3 weeks, or go on and on about how embarrassing it is to wear sunglasses in the grocery store because the lights are too bright. I’ll skip the part where Target mailed me a new Red Card and I lost it (in my own home), ordered a new one, then found the old one, and couldn’t figure out which one to activate.

These are not real problems. These are First World Problems. I try not to feel too sorry for myself, even though I totally feel sorry for myself. My life — and my freelancing career — were finally sort of on track. I had plans. Goals. Things happening. The holidays were finally over, my kids were going back to school, and I had projects to work on.

I don’t know if you know this, but Type A people typically struggle in the role of stay-at-home mom. I can’t just cuddle with my kids all day, as nice as it may sound. I have too much shit to do. Not that I don’t love to cuddle, I guess, it’s just … it’s hard for me. My personality doesn’t mesh with all-day cuddling. I AM NOT A LAID BACK PERSON.

It felt good to see my “hobby” turn into an actual part-time job. I need to work to feel sane. And then I got concussed, and all of that stopped. In addition, I’ve had to scale back to zero on everything. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

Watching my life grind to a halt has been a lesson in patience that I have absolutely zero interest in learning, which likely means that I will continue floundering like a fish out of water until I learn it.

Since the accident almost two months ago, so many things have happened. Just this week, I forgot my oldest was getting out of school early. When he arrived home, no one was there to greet him. He was alone and afraid AND a candle was burning, because I lit it and totally forgot about it BECAUSE I WAS TOO BUSY FORGETTING ABOUT MY SON.

Concusser

My concusser and I.

On a different day, a Saturday, I took a shower and emerged to find a very quiet house. The kids were wandering the neighborhood, shoeless. We’re those people now. The ones with barefoot, aimless children and a not-quite-right mother who yells a lot. A lot.

I waxed off half an eyebrow with a Sally Hansen at-home waxing kit.

I saw a neurologist, lost the paperwork from the visit, and had to ask a friend who my neurologist is, because I certainly could not remember. This is the same friend (Audrey Hayworth, say hello) who was getting extensions put in her hair when she got a call from my husband asking her please to take me to the Emergency Room for yet another brain scan, because something was wrong with me.

She literally got out of the extension-installer’s chair and hauled my ass to the hospital, and now apparently she’s the person I have to call when I can’t remember my doctor’s name.

Everyone needs an Audrey. People with concussions really need one.

We have a pet cat now. Her name is Magnolia. I have no idea when she showed up or when she became ours.

Cat

I’m afraid if I don’t write these things down, they’ll be lost forever … kind of like the last 2 months of my life. I’ve been living, of course, but nothing is right. The edges are still blurry. My emotions aren’t the same.

Also, I know I’m still healing because I have begun to rely on my husband, the man who loses everything, to help me find things. My, how the tide has turned. I now take back everything I’ve ever said about Robbie misplacing things, because just the other day I spent 30 minutes looking for a receipt in my purse. I was nearly in tears by the time I handed him my purse, because I knew he would be able to find it.

He produced the missing receipt within seconds.

I’m sure there are plenty of life lessons to be learned in all of this, but there one thing I know for certain: many years from now, after I have fully healed and life is normal again, I’ll look back on this time and think to myself, “Huh … I don’t remember any of that.”

*I definitely allow myself to whine about everything. I have been absolutely horrid to live with lately and my family deserves a medal but WAIT A MINUTE, THEY DON’T, BECAUSE I AM THE ONE WHO WAS NEARLY KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY SO GIMME MY MEDAL AND 15 POUNDS OF CHOCOLATE.

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Epic Humiliation Post-Concussion

I got a concussion last week, but this blog post is not about that. Don’t worry, I’ll tell the story eventually — but right now I want to talk about how I managed to epically humiliate myself as a result of said concussion.

Are you ready? Okay.

The guy who cuts our grass is Robbie’s childhood best friend’s brother. I would really prefer for Robbie to cut our grass himself, because nothing is more of a turn on for me than a man doing physical labor, but he works a lot now that he’s back in the car business. So we pay his friend’s brother to do it.

I can’t ever seem to recall the guy’s real name, because everyone calls him Wolfie, and I’m not sure if I am allowed to call him that or not, so I don’t call him anything. I just smile and wave.

Yesterday morning I took the little kids to preschool and I was quite proud of myself for doing so, because it was the first time I’ve been able to operate a motor vehicle since getting concussed without feeling like I was completely and utterly drunk. When I returned home, Wolfie was at our house. I was not thinking clearly begin with, and his presence caught me off guard.

Let me go ahead and explain that I normally think quite clearly. It’s not typical for me to be fuzzy-brained, even with three kids, but I was in the E.R. with a concussion 9 days prior to this occurrence and I am still not myself. So I rolled down my window and said good morning, the whole time thinking, “OH SHIT, WHAT IS THIS DUDE’S NAME AND WHY CAN’T I REMEMBER IT EVEN THOUGH I NEVER SAY IT ALOUD BECAUSE I’M NOT SURE IF I AM ALLOWED TO CALL HIM THAT NAME.”

A few minutes into our conversation, I realized he was looking at me funny. Maybe it was because I was acting funny. So I then felt compelled to explain to him that I got a concussion last Monday and his expression turned from slight confusion to mild horror, so I followed up with an explanation of how it happened and watched his horror turn to utter shock.

Then I told him I was going to go inside to write him a check and that I would be right back.

“You don’t have to worry about that,” he said. “I can just bill you.”

But no, I had to go on and on about how I hate letting bills pile up and I definitely wanted to pay him today, so he shrugged and said okay. He stood in my driveway with his weed eater turned off, waiting for me to return.

Except that when I got inside I couldn’t find the checkbook.

And then I couldn’t remember his real name — first OR last — and how much we pay him to cut our grass. So then I just sort of pretended that I forgot.

He eventually turned the weed eater back on and proceeded to spend the next hour mowing our grass. But then he was done, and he knocked on the back door, because I was supposed to have returned with a check over an hour ago.

I was too mortified about my lapse in memory and series of bad choices to do what I should have done, which was to hand him a blank check and ask him to fill it out for me.

cRINGE

Truth be told, I was afraid if he knew how bad my mental situation really was 9 days post-concussion, he would refuse to leave me alone, and after almost 2 weeks of having other adults up my ass telling me what NOT to do I just couldn’t handle it.

So I laid on the floor.

He continued to knock.

I called Robbie.

“I’m in a weird situation and I need your help.”

“What KIND of weird situation?”

“Ummm … what the guy’s name who mows our grass?”

“Wolfie.”

“He’s here, and I’m pretty sure he thinks I died.”

WHAT?!

Basically, Wolfie is the nicest guy ever and when I did not come to the door, he called his brother, who called my husband and asked if he needed to KICK THE DOOR IN TO CHECK ON ME.

Robbie thankfully explained that I was fine. A tad off, obviously, but fine.

I cannot put into words how mortified I would have been if he had kicked in the door. But also? I totally deserved it.

So the next time I see Wolfie, I’m going to hug him and apologize.

Or I might lie on the floor and play dead.

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A Mother’s Denial.

I have spent so much of my life wanting time to move faster.

I’m a doer. A planner. I get the metaphorical ball rolling. I mobilize.

And yes, it’s exhausting. But that is who I am and who I always have been. I lie awake in bed at night planning the next day. I spend almost my entire day on my feet, doing things. I can’t help it. It’s in my DNA.

But now my last child has outgrown her crib, and I CANNOT MOVE PAST IT. I have planned for this moment at length, watching three teething babies gnaw on the wooden rails, telling myself that one day it will be time to convert it into a full-size bed and close the Crib Chapter of our lives. And now that time has come … and I just can’t move forward.

I’m stuck.

I’m sad.

I cry a lot.

It’s weird.

I’ve been dragging my feet for weeks, saying things like “I still need to find bedding,” or, “We’ll do it this weekend.”

Excuses.

The fact of the matter is, I don’t want my last baby to sleep in a big girl bed. I stare at her very-long-for-her-age body folded inside of her crib and I tell myself that she likes it, because it’s a lot like sleeping in a womb. I tell myself that she’s only 2 1/2 and children that small are too little to be in full-sized sleigh beds, even though both of her brothers were sleeping in big beds by the time they were her age.

But she’s different. Because she’s my last.

When she crawls into her brother’s bed, snuggles under the covers, and announces “I WANT A BIG GIRL BED!” I pretend not to hear it. I don’t want to face it. And that’s a weird feeling for someone who hurtles through her life like a neurotic wildebeest.

No matter how much I try to treat all of my children the same, I’m always going to be a little slower to accept the newest stage of my youngest.

Fortunately for us all, she is not the type to be slowed by anyone.

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