“…and she loved a little boy very, very much–even more than she loved herself.”
-From The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
(Photo courtesy of Brittany Gidley Photography, Cleveland, OH
Copyrighted by Brittany Gidley Photography, 2015)
Man, it’s been a while. Like two months. I feel like we went out on a really bad date and then I decided that things were too awkward for me to like your statuses on Facebook, favorite your Tweets, or call/text you back.
Fret not, kiddos. I’m back.
Shit got a little real after that last post I wrote about the Single Chick Bucket List (which I have been trying to get done and will start to blog about in the near future). Six days after that post was published, my dad was rushed to the hospital for severe swelling and leakage in his neck. He received emergency surgery the next day, and on Valentine’s Day (because nothing good ever happens on that fucking day) he was diagnosed with advanced stage throat cancer. So needless to say things have been quite the rollercoaster since then–with the exception of a week and a half at the end of February, he has been an inpatient at the Cleveland Clinic and its sister hospitals. Three weeks ago he had to have his larynx, lymph nodes, both thyroid glands, and a major vein removed from his neck–he has a trach and hopefully in a few weeks he can begin to try to learn to talk again with speech therapy. Once things settle down and he gains the weight he lost (he was admitted to the hospital at 115 pounds; he is 6’4″), he will start radiation. He is supposed to have a lung and bone biopsy in the upcoming days, and hopefully things slow down a little and the results come back good.
My dad has taught me a lot about strength in the past two months. The things I worried about in January seem so damn trivial compared to what we are dealing with now. My dad being sick really made me get over my ex–seeing him still sucks ass in ways that I can’t eloquently describe, but I changed shifts in the shift rebid we had at work and I won’t have to worry about seeing him except for an hour or two depending on my schedule. For some reason I thought that maybe my ex would come up to me and ask me how I was doing or how my dad was doing–his younger sister has stage IV cancer and I love her like the sister I never had, so I thought maybe he would show a shred of compassion. Yeah…I was wrong. He acts like I am invisible. So I had to suck that up and tell myself right then and there that his lack of being a nice person just shows that there was no point in being brokenhearted over him. I have learned to appreciate my friends and I love them all so incredibly much. The texts, hugs, kind words, and phone calls have all meant more than you would think.
But strength. My father has faced every step of this bullshit with a positive attitude. He smiles and cracks jokes and just holds it together for our family. I think maybe he always knew that this was a possible consequence of being a smoker for nearly 60 years. I did, but I never really thought it would happen. It has made us stronger as a family, it has made me stronger in the fact that I have realized that life isn’t a given. Things change. Moments occur that can shake our every belief and thought to the core. I laugh a lot more and I have decided to become more self-assured and more self-aware then I was before. If I don’t like something, I make it known. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t do it. I decided that you don’t get anywhere in life by shrinking back in the background and not making waves–I’ve always been an extrovert, but I hate confrontation and I hate hurting other people’s feelings. I have also decided that if I know what I want, I should try to figure out how to get it. There are no do-overs, no rewind button (old school VHS reference), no backspace. Everything is constantly moving forward and you have to move forward with it.
It’s like the Modest Mouse lyric, “And we’ll all float on okay”. We need to stop taking everything so goddamn serious and just let it go. Time hurtles on through the great void, with or without us…just stop worrying about the little things and let go.
It’s good to be back. I missed writing, but I figured that I would find my words when I was ready.
I started a new shift last week and I’m adjusting to working during the day like a normal person. No more 8 pm to 4 am…I don’t know what it’s like to be awake during the day and asleep at night. It’s like the world flip-flopped itself on me. I feel more rested and maybe I’ll get more accomplished. And accomplished means more blogging, which is always excellent.
I just have to get used to it. Sunlight? What’s that?
Today is my dad’s 69th birthday. I am probably the definition of a daddy’s girl. I’m crazy about my dad and I love him to pieces. He’s my best friend. As far back as I can remember he’s been my partner in crime.
My parents are twenty years apart, so my dad was 41 when I was born. His age never stopped him from chasing me in the grass in our backyard or lifting a very giggly and squirmy five-year-old Me up so that I could touch the ceiling with my fingertips (my dad is 6’4″). As I grew older, I loved sitting with him (me on the couch, Dad in his recliner) as he leisurely smoked a cigarette from his green pack of Kool 100 Super Longs and we watched old reruns of the black and white classics–to this day, I still love watching The Andy Griffith Show and Bewitched with him.
My dad would also sit and tell me and my little brother stories of his childhood on his grandparents’ farm in Morris Chapel, Tennessee and of his time spent in Cleveland at his uncle’s house. I loved hearing how life used to be in the ’40s and ’50s and looking through the old photo albums at my grandparents (my grandpa died when my dad was very young, my grandma died when I was a baby) and my great-grandparents and my great-great grandparents. My dad is predominantly Cherokee-American, so I loved seeing my great-great grandmother and her long white braid that stretched to the ground (my dad swears she lived to be 105) and my great-grandparents’ high cheekbones and stunning profiles. He graduated from high school in Washington, D.C. in 1962 and told me about the dark days of when JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcolm X were all assassinated. He remembers Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement and he fought in Vietnam. He’s lived through thirteen US Presidents, from FDR to Barack Obama.
He’s still as funny and as smart as when I was a little girl. It’s hard for me to think of my dad as a senior citizen, because he is anything but. He’s still the head machinist at his job. He still smokes those Kool 100s. His favorite show is The Big Bang Theory. He loves being a grandpa and a great-grandpa (I have a 28 year old niece from one of my older half-brothers. She has a little girl herself.). He still criticizes the Browns every football season (he’s a Redskins fan) and reads The Plain Dealer daily and watches Jerry Springer and Maury every day after work because their insanity makes him feel like his day couldn’t be as bad as those guests’ are. He still encourages me to live my dreams and to keep working hard. He taught me that hard work and a strong education are the two most important things that a person can have next to their family. He taught me how to play Monopoly when I was five (no hotels or houses and I always got Boardwalk and Park Place and somehow won every time) and how to dance by standing on his feet in the kitchen while “My Girl” by The Temptations played on the local oldies station. He taught me to really appreciate music and told me I got my voice from my grandma. I am incredibly lucky to have him as a dad :)
Happy Birthday, Daddy <3
Time flies when you’re living life.
I hadn’t realized that April was the last time I blogged! I suppose that in the rush of everything positive that has gone on over the past three months, I just didn’t have time to write. The casino opened May 14, and the shift I had been on up until last night made it damn near impossible to do anything but work and sleep–I worked what we call “sunrise” (a more pleasant-sounding spin on the more depressing-sounding graveyard shift), and when you work from 1 am to 9 am, you find that blogging ranks pretty low on your list of priorities :P But anyway, life at the casino is great. I love being a dealer, it’s pretty fun to just essentially play games and interact with people for eight hours and get paid. I’m surprised at how comfortable I have gotten dealing roulette; if you had thrown me on a roulette table back in April I probably would have burst into tears (as a matter of fact, back in April I did burst into tears on the table in class) and froze up. Now I can easily tell you how much five straight-ups (175) and 7 splits (119) are (294), all in my head. I actually enjoy dealing roulette more than blackjack, and the people that I’ve known since the original Table Games Service Academy (Dec. 2011 to Feb. 2012) can tell you how much of a 180 that is! It’s great to work with people I enjoy and actually feel appreciated, something that I never once felt at the dealership. I have no stress and I’m relaxed…I love it.
Other that, one would say that my life is wonderfully mundane. Nicky is getting so big! He’ll be in second grade in three weeks, and he’s only 11 inches shorter than me–that doesn’t say a lot for me, but 50 inches is a pretty huge achievement for him :) He’s had a summer filled with climbing the tree in our front yard, swimming in his friend’s pool, playing baseball, and just being a little boy with his entire summer vacation ahead of him.
My boyfriend and I are still together and are pretty happy. He went home in the middle of June, and I went out to Chicago for a few days this past month to see him, which was great because I love the city (and him, but that’s beside the point :P). We’re pretty confident that we can make this long distance thing work.
I also lost nearly 20 pounds since February, I’ve gone from 160 to roughly 145-147 pounds. I’ve joined a gym and am trying to be a lot healthier in my eating and lifestyle habits. I feel great, and I love how I feel. I was thinking about losing 20 more, but I don’t want to lose my curves, so I might drop about 10 to 15 more and build muscle.
I have every intent of being more consistent with this blog now that I am on swing shift and have more time during the day to get things done. I’m actually going to sign off now to go eat dinner and get ready to go to work…Til next time, XO!
As being a mom goes, I guess one would say that I’m not particularly very good at it.
Let me rephrase that. I am a good mom, in the actual definition of a mother. My son is pretty well adjusted and happy, he eats three meals a day, is very loved, and takes his baths and does his homework. I’m good at the parenting part. It’s this idealized notion of motherhood that I suck at.
I’m not very good at being the stereotypical idea of what a mom should be. I go on to sites like CafeMom, which I refer to as the “MySpace of Mommydom” or other “mommy friendly” blogs/sites and I’m just like wow, I really suck at this mom shit. These ladies are really on the ball when it comes to the nominees for Mom of the Year 2011. I’m not married, nor do I really have a desire to do so. I’m not a stay-at-home mom. I don’t cut my son’s sandwiches into fun little shapes with cookie cutters because A.) I would never be able to come up with something like that on my own, and B.) I think it’s a little stupid to cut my kid’s PB & J into the shape of an Easter egg just because Holy Week is right around the corner. I don’t volunteer for school related activities because I work crazy hours, so if it’s in the morning I’m usually sleeping because I’m tired from work the day before, or if it’s in the afternoon I’m trapped at work. I actually don’t really like kids that aren’t mine. I don’t make fun little crafts for Nicky to take to school because I don’t have an ounce of craftiness in my body, and I remember making fun of the kids that would bring in crafty stuff for the teacher.
I can’t sew. I’ve tried, but I can’t make cutesy blankets or scarves or whatever the hell it is that those perennially perfect moms do with their spare time. You know, the little bit of spare time they have between making amazing vegan/organic meals that they have to take pictures of to remind the moms like me how much we suck for taking our kids to McDonald’s or making them Ramen noodles for dinner, taking their kids to the 8858475484 sports practices, ballet recitals, and band rehearsals, and just being all around awesome and perfect. I’ve never made a cake from scratch or boasted about how I got this stubborn grass stain out of my husband’s khaki shorts. I don’t have time to create a beautifully elaborate scrapbook of every single memory my son and I have shared or created in the almost seven years he’s been alive. I barely have enough time to spend with him when I get home from work before it’s time for him to go to bed. I am not a domestic goddess, not by a long shot. Nor do I want to be. It actually sounds pretty damn boring.
I’m not jealous of, or threatened by these “supermoms”, the stay-at-home Wonder Women who claim to be able to change a diaper and frost a cake simultaneously. First of all, that is overwhelmingly unhygienic, and secondly, I highly doubt that they can actually do that. No, I actually think it’s pretty cool that they are so dedicated to making their husbands and children so happy. That is their life and they love it. Kudos to them. I, on the other hand, am on the other end of the spectrum. Like I said earlier, I have no desire to get married and have a huge house with a white picket fence and big backyard for my 2.5 children and my golden retriever. I have no desire to buy a minivan or discuss home decor or the amazing sale on corn at Giant Eagle. Nay. I suppose I am selfish. And lazy. And crazy independent. I’ve always been that way, though. I was the girl who didn’t want a husband or a dream house or kids. I wanted to travel the world and have ridiculous experiences to tell whenever I’d write home or visit or whatever. I didn’t want that cutesy perfect life most girls dream of, with the fairytale wedding and the Cinderella-type happy ending. I don’t even think my Barbies lived happily ever after, to be honest.
That said, however, I love my son. I love being a mom. I’ll just never be that perfect idea of what a mother should be. I’m the mom who is always late, rushing out the door in the middle of winter without my coat on, juggling my purse and coffee and coat and keys, yelling up the stairs for Nicky to hurry up, when he is actually on the porch with me, coat all zipped up and ready to go. I’m the mom who loves snuggling up with her son and watching movies. I’d rather crack jokes with Nicky and lose at Monopoly Jr. than pretend to be perfect. I’m the mom who sings silly songs at the top of her lungs and gets in tickle fights and has awesome conversations with her kid. I’m a hands on mom. I’m the mom who works six days in order to make forty hours so that she can supplement the ridiculously low child support she gets a month. I’m the mom who toughs it out and still lives at home because she has the common sense to know that she can’t do it alone. I’m pretty proficient in self-sacrifice.
I think, actually, that this alleged “Supermom” that seems to exist only on CafeMom and these other peachy keen mommy sites is just a myth. It’s easier to sound perfect when you’re behind a computer screen and no one is actually there to back you up. I’m willing to wager that 85% of the moms in the world are like me–imperfect and fun and nowhere near the stereotype from the 1950s. I’m pretty sure that I’m the definition of a real mom, and I’m okay with it. Just don’t ask me my thoughts on matching wall paint colors with curtains and upholstery. You’ll get a blank stare :P
Today was a blissfully boring day.
I worked six hours today, filing all alone in an empty office. I know it sounds boring, but I love it. My favorite part of my job is when all the other girls in the office have gone home and it’s just me and my thoughts and a nice playlist that I burned playing in the CD player. I’m a social person, I love being around people and laughing and joking and having a good time, but I also enjoy having time to myself where I’m not subjected to country music and gossip about relationships and stuff that bores me. I’ve always been like that, to be honest, I prefer to be alone in my room with a book and music in the background when I’m not out being the social butterfly that society expects of me. I also prefer to go out places with Nicky and my mom now more than I do with my friends. It’s weird, but maybe that’s part of getting older. Maybe you develop more of a chill, homebody side as the years go by? I don’t know.
After work, I came home and watched football with my dad and ate cookies and nachos and this sinfully delicious chocolate cake–and I feel ridiculously stuffed and sluggish at the moment. Nicky came in and sat next to me, and we watched TV with his head resting on my arm all evening until it was bath time. Bath time is actually a lot more fun now that he’s older. I liked “bubble tubbies” when he was smaller, but he keeps more of the bathwater actually in the tub now, and he likes to wash himself up and wash his own hair. Next thing I know he’s going to be shaving, hahaha. I love that he still calls his bath a “tubby” :) After his bath, I put on his favorite DVD, that show Storm Chasers, and we snuggled up on the couch until he fell asleep in my lap. In our house, we all know that Storm Chasers = Nicky is sleepy. He usually won’t make it through an entire episode. It’s actually kind of odd that my son watches a storm about chasing tornadoes to fall asleep. He’s my silly silly boy…Although weather intrigues me, and we will go out on our porch and watch huge storms roll in, so he probably got that from me, along with his love of cake and staying up late…and his sense of humor, his blue eyes, and his goofy, lovable smile. He’s definitely his mommy’s baby.
I’m currently in my pajamas, typing away at my keyboard in between texting one of my bestest friends, Destinie. After I’m done with this mindnumbingly boring entry I plan on brushing my teeth and curling up in bed with my favorite book, Looking For Alaska (by John Green) until I fall asleep. I was reading Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer, but the story of Chris McCandless pisses me off and I’m not in the mood to ponder the sanity or motives of McCandless tonight. I will blog about him another day, because I could write an entire post on him and how I can’t figure out if he was an idealist that we all should respect to some degree or if he was a spoiled rich brat who wanted to rebel against societal norms and his parents.
Goodnight, and here’s to another blissfully uneventful tomorrow to make me smile :)
My blog would like to thank you for calling it back in a timely manner. It wants to tell you that it didn’t wait by the phone at all. Well…maybe once or twice it checked the caller ID to see if you may or may not have called. Simply because it was in the shower and didn’t want you to think it was ignoring you.
So, I am sitting here at my trusty laptop, my face slathered in Mask of Magnaminty from the ever wonderful LUSH, fresh from playing with Nicky and his newest little toys, these little robotic bugs called Hexbugs. They’re actually kind of cute (see photo below), and Nicky wants to get more from Target the next time we go. I like them because they teach him science in a fun way (he remembers when we went to the Robots exhibit at the Great Lakes Science Center a few years back, and was telling me all about robots earlier tonight), and they are fairly inexpensive. As a mother with a ridiculously low-paying job, you can’t beat that.
Today was a wonderfully quiet one. I took the day off from work, relaxing and spending time with Nicky instead of working for ten long hours. We laid around for a good part of the day, then went to Target and the grocery store, which is always fun and excruciating, depending on Nicky’s particular mood when we go to Target. This shopping trip was okay, although Nicky seemed to decide to bring his outdoor voice inside and thought it’d be best to be smart-mouthed. I may or may not have gotten angry with him and gotten the Look from one of my mom’s old friends. I didn’t spank him or yell at him, but he was being an unruly boy who was probably tired of sitting in the cart section of the shopping cart (it’s easier to keep him in the cart still, especially since he’s six and easily distracted…Target has a large toy department and has a Halloween section set up already–he stays in the cart for both of our sakes), and got antsy and mouthy. I may have snapped at him to shut his mouth because I didn’t want to hear it. And this lady overheard me and so I got the Look. I loathe the Look. I was nineteen when I had Nicky, and I have gotten the “you young mothers don’t know crap about raising children and that’s the problem with teen moms” kind of look since he was born. I am funny about the term “teen mom” in my case. I was nineteen, yes, but I had already graduated from high school and was technically a legal adult. So yes, I was a teenager, but I wasn’t in the kind of category that would land me on a MTV reality show or as a real statistic worth studying. To older people who need to mind their own damn businesses, however, I am a teen mom who shouldn’t have had a kid because I suck at parenting. I guess they either never had children or forgot what it’s like to be a parent of a small child. I usually ignore them, but the Look I got tonight really stuck with me for a while. She looked at me like I was the worst mother ever and that I had no business with a child–I had the misfortune of being in the same aisle as her when Nicky had a minor meltdown about Hot Wheels last week at Target. Mind you, he’d been up over twelve hours that day because of school, and he stopped napping last year in Kindergarten. He was beyond tired, and I was cranky because I hadn’t slept well the night before. We were both on the edge, but she didn’t know that.
And to that, and to her, I say fuck you. You don’t know me. You don’t know the crap I do and the things I have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice to be a good mom. And I’m not a teenager anymore, so don’t give me that “Teen Mom bullshit Look” anymore. I’ll be 26 in three months. I’ve been a mom for nearly seven years. So shut the hell up and remember what it was like to have a tired and antsy kid at a department store. And if my memory serves me correct, you had like three kids. So you have no room to judge at all. All that matters is that Nicky is loved and clothed and fed and warm and has the things he needs in his life to be well-adjusted and to safely and easily assimilate into society. Blahhhh.
Other than that, we had a great day. We had a deep conversation as to why he needs to behave when we are in public, and then we had pizza with my parents (whom, by the way, we live with, thanks to my shitty paying job and the craptastic economy) and spent the rest of the evening watching old episodes of Benny Hill and The Three Stooges. It was a great day indeed.
Oh, and save that spare change for the parking meter. We’re going out on the second date soon :P