I’m Not Their Real Mother

The three youngers (not to be confused with the three olders who were each at their various jobs-so-they-can-afford-to-buy-me-stuff-some-day) paraded into my room this morning carrying their Mother’s Day tribute: a rose, a carnation, a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups and a Mother’s Day poem written by Mitchel, the youngest of the youngers, about what a great mom I am and why. I informed them that I loved it ALL and immediately popped a peanut butter cup into my mouth and sent Mitchel to get some food coloring to put in the water to see if we could turn the greenish white carnation a different color for an experiment. When he returned with purple food coloring that was already all over his fingers before he’d even started to put drops in the water, I told him I especially liked the part in the poem that said R is for “Really good at handling all 6 kids”. I  said I would keep it forever. Because while I’m disappointed in the fact that M is for “Magical No! Best Mom, Yess!!!!” (Clearly he doesn’t realize I have magical powers: how else would one handle all six kids?) he made up for it with the second line O is for “Other moms are good, but not as good as you”.

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Hello! Winning!  Sorry all you other moms. There can only be ONE “best mom”. GOOD is just going to have to do for the rest of you!

I thought about sharing the Reese’s but then quickly thought again and tucked the rest of the bag away in my underwear drawer where it would be safe from thievery. I’m just not a sharer especially when it comes to my favorite candy.

Mitchel wanted to know if I saved everything they gave me. “Even the flowers?”

Remembering what happened when I tried to save a dead grasshopper Duncan once gave me in the same container as his preschool art work, I said “No, I learned the hard way years ago to stop saving anything that used to be alive. I don’t want all those great letters and pictures you guys made to get mold on them; it’s important to keep them in tact for when your real mom comes back.”

All three of the boys snickered a little bit at that and then each gave me a hug and scampered off to do various youngers activities, tribute over and done with. Which is fine. Tribute makes me feel slightly uncomfortable and extremely guilty. Their real mother, the one I invented when I was young, energetic and optimistic, left years ago. I’m just the stand-in who’s doing an adequate (at best) job of mothering. Selfish peanut butter cup hoarding is just one very small example of many. I could fill a book my good people. So though I joke about being the best mom ever, I am fully aware that there is just no sense pretending that I’m even trying for a GOOD rating.

I is who I is.

Kids, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry but I don’t think your real mom is coming home anytime soon. I’ve TRIED to find her but her last known number has been disconnected and I don’t have the cash for a private detective. She clearly doesn’t want to be found anyway so why waste any more effort? It’s probably time to face the fact that you are stuck with me as the stand in. So let’s save the tribute for Father’s Day where it has been earned and is deserved.

You olders probably remember your real mom and all of her fantastic mommying: all those healthy breakfasts, clean clothes, notes in your lunch boxes, lipstick kisses on the day-care window, homemade clever Halloween costumes etc. I could go on and on but quite frankly doing so would probably make us all a little bit bummed out. Her sole purpose in life was to make your lives rich and fun and full of love so that you all would go out into the world as good, kind, nurtured people who would spread love and peace into the world. You know: that ‘make good ripples’ line?  Please don’t tell the younger ones too much about their real mom.. They are just going to feel ripped off. Plus it creates so much pressure for me to try and fill her shoes. My feet are way too big for those cute little sandals she used to wear because they, along with the rest of my body have grown quite wide over the years. Practical footwear is where I am at now.

Along with practical mothering. Which involves as little effort as possible on my end.

So, That being said, here are some ideas for Mother’s Day cards that my kids SHOULD give me:

*****

Front of Card

Mom: Well mom, you tried.

Inside

You did TRY, right?

*****

Front of Card

Mom: At least you’re not as weird as grandma

Inside

Mostly.

*****

Front of Card

Mom: thanks for making me do all that stuff by myself, you know, like cleaning my room, doing my own laundry, getting out the band-aids all on my own for my bloody skinned knees so that I wouldn’t get blood all over the carpet and get killed by you.

Inside

Lazy meanie.

*****

Front of Card

Mom: A is for Affort

Inside

Too bad you didn’t help me study for my spelling when I was young. I could have ben someone.

*****

Front of Card

Mom: I’m sure you’ll finish STRONG!

Inside

Hopefully you won’t die before it’s too late.

*****

Front of Card

Mom: remember all those times you were there for me?

Inside

No wait, that was dad.

*****

Ha ha!!! I suppose that may be a little harsh. I’m not THAT bad of a mother. And quite frankly my kids are turning out really fantastic despite the fact that I have not lived up to my own ridiculous and over the top expectations of what a “good mom” is. So who’s to say that if their real mom had stayed longer that she would have any more right than me to take credit for how awesome they are.

 

 

Mom-Goddess: She’s the Chick to Be

I am driving my 14 year old son Daniel to his weights and conditioning class. He is still sleepy. I can tell because his forehead is wrinkled from trying to keep his eyes open. I am pretty sure he has anxiety over starting high school this fall. And also worries about freshman football: “will I be good…will I get hurt…am I going to get bigger…” All that stuff. But Daniel is one of my more reserved boys and isn’t going to say much about his worries to me.

Unlike his older sister whose every thought pretty much comes out her mouth.

She gets that from me. I don’t think all females are like this. God help us if that were true.

Which explains why words spill out my lips before I consider who my passenger is when I see these two fine looking smiling men holding political signs representing some person trying to get elected. I do not even register the position or the name of the candidate because I am busy waving and smiling at these model material males and saying in my sexiest voice “Oh I’m SO gonna vote for YOU and OH MY…YOU as well”.

I myself am now VERY wide awake on this morning and turn to my passenger expecting a high five and an ‘OH HELLS YEAH’ but then I remember that this is not my daughter but one of my five sons. Dan’s lips are flat lined and there is now an extra wrinkle in his forehead. One of his eyebrows is pointedly raised like it always is when he is mildly annoyed at how ridiculous something is.

Wow. Whoops.

Now. A good mother would have probably just stopped talking right then and there.

And so I say “Gosh. I wish I could just go into some kind of magical place for two weeks and have them take off a few layers of fat and transplant it to starving baby orphan whales and then at the same time slough off all my unbecoming rough skin and moles and marks and then maybe get a nice subtle spray tan. They’d probably first have to clip off some extra skin on account of the fat layers being gone. It takes a LOT of skin to cover all of THIS and saggy skin is NOT cool. I wonder if all of that would hurt? Maybe they could just knock me out for the whole two weeks. That way I could get some rest too. It would also be cool to get my eyelashes dyed and eyeliner tattoos. Because makeup just bites and I am finally realizing that I actually need to put it ON to look ok. Sucks. And maybe perhaps a little teeth whitening. Oh and my FEET: gawd my feet need help. And I’m while not really pro-cosmetic surgery (save for having layers of fat removed because I just don’t feel like exercising these days) it would be cool to know I had cheekbones under these robust cheeks. It just seems like a person should be able to get all of that done in two weeks. Really I can’t spare two weeks but if I could guarantee they would do ALL of that, well, I’d make time.”

Daniel turns and looks at me and I realize he was actually listening because I was using my outside voice.

Shit and whoops again.

“But then you would not look like you” he says to me.

And I suddenly wish I could just crawl inside this boy’s head and view what I look like from his perspective. This handsome young man of mine needs me to look like me and no one else.

Hmm.

I remember looking at my own mother as a young girl (before teen magazines, M-TV, commercials and other forms of media that destroy the “I am enough” mentality) and thinking she was so beautiful. And she was! I did not compare her to anyone else in terms of size, shape, hair/skin/eye color. She was just my mom: perfectly beautiful and designed to love me.

Is this the magic of being a mother? That when you are you from top to bottom you are pretty much perfect from every angle in the eyes of your child, simply because you look, feel, sound and smell like “my mom who loves me”?

How is it that I am just now realizing how f’ing fabulous this is?

Since the birth of my sixth born and last child, I have often found myself fighting the label of “mother of six”. I’m not sure why because it’s a pretty awesome thing to be a mother of six children. Being the mother of one to seventeen kids is awesome, but after that, well…you’re kinda stupid. I mean where the hell are you going to PUT eighteen or more kids?

It’s just that when I am introduced to people: “this is Heather, she has SIX KIDS (insert dramatic pause here)” as though I have some kind of crazy super power, I find myself being a little irked and often end up mentally elaborating about all my other attributes and accomplishments, mostly show-offy stuff, like: “Oh and also I finally got my dog to swim: I’m pretty much a dog whisperer” or “You should hear me sing in the bathtub: I totally rock the house down” or “Yes, and I look totally HOT in my bathing suit cover up.”  I mean if I am going to be labeled as a crazy super power chick, I feel like I should at least add more reasons why to the resume.

Because, seriously? Giving birth to six babies wasn’t exactly all my doing. I had support from my husband, nurses, doctors and in one instance about twenty medical students filling the room all examining and tisking (I’m sure in total AWE) at my child bearing nether regions, as though there wasn’t an actual person attached. Oh and there were drugs. Wonderful drugs. So for heaven’s sake. Hello. No gold medal for this gal.

Same goes for growing them up. There is even more help once they are in the world. If I forget to feed them, usually SOMEONE in the village will. Thank goodness. And in terms of guidance, yes I am part of their moral cabinet, but so are their teachers, friends, and siblings (and other less ruthless family members). So I really can’t take much credit for a whole lot of their good stuff (or their bad stuff).

So I think “Well surely I need to do, be and look like MORE for the world. To make my mark, to build my world resume, to achieve greatness outside being a mother.” Which is what often gets me to musing out loud about transplanting my jiggly fat to baby orphan whales. And while it’s a loving and environmentally friendly thought to help the baby orphan whales, it’s just not very practical.

And here’s the thing: as I grow older and maybe moderately more mentally mature (note awesome alliteration) I am slowly starting to realize that all this striving for excellence outside of who I am and who I love kind of falls flat and unnecessary.

My kids just want me to be me. And they mostly think I’m awesome, which is a hell of a lot better than the rest of the world’s opinion. They don’t want me to be some other mother, or sexy movie star, or triathlete, or high paying upper level executive. (Other moms: if you happen to BE any or all of those things, I mean no insult, you are knocking it out of the park! Bravo!  But damn girl: slow down and eat some CAKE!)

I don’t know what a mom-goddess LOOKS like but she is FOR SURE the chick to be. Because it feels wicked good to BE one: like a soft, squooshie, warm ball of beautifully loved-love.

I bet I smell like cookies too. Though probably only because I just ate one.

For the record Daniel didn’t actually SAY I am a mom-goddess. But I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant. So that basically means I AM one.  I just am helping him fine-tune his outside words.

You’re welcome Daniel. And thank you.

Dog Speak

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Our six year old, dopey black lab lost his best buddy Daisy this week and he is confused. Of course in his defense he usually has a puzzled expression on his face. You know that lab look: one ear up higher than the other, head tilted. Add a silly dog grin and a caption above his head saying “Wait, what?” and you have Duke.

But right now he is walking around very bewildered.

I don’t know what to tell him. I don’t speak very good Dog.

We received a lovely condolences note from Dr. Kennedy that brought more tears. I read it out loud to Mitchel who couldn’t read his shaky cursive handwriting. He nodded solemnly. “Yes. He’s right. She just wasn’t going to get better, was she? We did the right thing helping her, didn’t we? She’s in heaven now, isn’t she?” Can any of us make these heartfelt statements WITHOUT inserting a weak, hesitating question mark after them. But who is going to tell us dog TRUTH better than a wonderful, experienced veterinarian, right?

Dr. Kennedy is a gracious elderly gentleman with kind eyes and an ever so slight tremor in his hands. It takes a special person to show up with the intent of helping a sick dog end her suffering for good. When he arrived four of the children were gathered around Daisy, weeping silently so as not to upset her and bring on another terrible bloody coughing fit. Small loving hands were laid upon her while the first dose of medicine made her relax. And that she did: her tongue flopped out, drunken happy dog, sleeping deep for the first time in over a week. The doctor left our back yard for a few minutes to let us all say our final goodbyes and I tried to help her put her tongue back but the kids just said “Mom, leave her be”.

“Okay, but if I die with my tongue hanging out, I want one of you to put it back in my mouth.”

None of them thought that was funny. Maria made a disgusted noise in her throat.

“No, seriously! Also, I want a mani-pedi. I feel terrible that Daisy has such long toenails.”

Dan and David finally both piped up at the same time: “They’re claws mom! And do you REALLY think she CARES that they’re long right now?”

No. She really didn’t care about her nails that were no longer filed down on their own by numerous daily laps on the concrete around the pool, chasing Duke, happy dog scooting.

Duke laid next to her while she peacefully slumbered, his face two inches from hers. He’d stayed so close to her the last couple days. Did he know? Do animals know? When Dr. Kennedy came back after ten minutes with the serious drugs Duke bristled up and half-ass barked but when the deadly medicine stopped her heart he left her side and laid down much farther away, his back to us.

Later that night, he didn’t ask for his dinner. That was always Daisy’s job. She would pounce around all frisky like a puppy and then he would say “Oh YES! You are right! It’s time to EAT!!!!” and join her in the prancing and cheering and asking. Aside from numerous daily treats, dinner was the best part of the day for Daisy and even when she was sick she still asked for her food. She just didn’t eat it.

Duke would not get on the big dog bed that he usually raced to plant himself on if Daisy made a move to lay on it. He walked around it. We all decided to throw it away. It made us sad.

Everett, the pet memorial guy came with Daisy’s ashes three days later. He was so nice and I got the feeling he would have hugged me if I’d needed a hug. He looked into my eyes and said “I’m here to talk if you need to. My phone number is on the invoice. Call me any time.” and I had to hold back the giggles as I pictured myself making that phone call.

The cost was $190.00. Pet cremations are priced by the pound; Daisy was a skinny fifty-eight pounds. My mom was under a hundred pounds when SHE died but her cremation cost was  $1495.00 and the guy there didn’t offer HIS phone number to me. I think I got ripped off. I kind of wish I’d known Everett back then. Maybe he’d have cut me a deal. But I suppose there are different rules for people. Though really? Is it any different? Mom would have thought it hilarious being taken to the pet place to be cremated.

Okay. Maybe not.

But still.

There must be some kind of government dead person tax that makes it so expensive. Maybe it helps pay for the census.

Okay, I just looked it up. It turns out that there is something called a municipal registration cost. Plus some other things including the Coroner’s certificate. So I wasn’t that far off about the dead person tax. It’s still way cheaper than paying for a casket which can range from $1000-$6500. If you want to embalm your loved one it is another $650.00. Yikes. I hope I don’t die before my 401K is a little more built up. Otherwise Grant just might HAVE to call Everett. But he and I are besties now, so I bet he’d be open minded.

But this post is supposed to be about my dead dog Daisy and Duke the recently perplexed pup.

Although I do need to say that I really hate the idea of being embalmed. If I’m going to have money spent on me to make me look better, I would like to be alive to enjoy all the oooh’s and aaah’s over how gorgeous I look. Except in special cases, embalming  is not required by law. Just so you know. In case you also feel uncomfortable with this. You can say no. Unless you’re dead. Then it’s too late.  I have just now in this post made it clear to MY loved ones that I do NOT want to be embalmed. But you might want to write some of this shit down. So your people know too.

I wonder what those special cases are that would make embalming a legal requirement? THAT would be just my luck.

Anyhoo.

The fact of the matter is Daisy and I had a very rough beginning to our relationship. When Grant brought her home, a tiny yellow ball of fur and love, without any kind of “I’m bringing a new puppy home” warning I had just completed a positive pregnancy test for baby number six. And while I was semi-excited about the human baby (I mean what are you doing to do, right?),  I was NOT very enthusiastic about the canine baby and expressed this loud and clear. Grinning Grant was unwavering in his puppy joy. Plus he’d gotten her for really cheap. A case of beer actually.

Morning sickness combined with puppy poop and piddle was brutal. Plus I felt way too old to be having another baby. I remember being exhausted and mad and I remained a little detached from sweet Daisy for quite a few years. I hope she didn’t notice. But she probably did. Females (in all species) are pretty good at perceiving negative vibes. Especially when it comes in the form of a two hundred pound screeching psychopath who can’t fit through normal size doorways (I’m pretty sure Mitchel weighed 50 pounds when he was born).

“The puppy pooped on the damn floor again!” Daisy was the ONLY one who ever actually heard me. Siwinski ears go deaf to any words that even imply that there is poop to clean up. She would hang her head in shame and would have cleaned it up herself if she had hands and knew how to use paper towels. Daisy was such a lady, even when she was a puppy. I feel super guilty.

Eleven years happened so fast.

I should have cut her nails but I was worried about hurting her. It was bad enough when I made the babies bleed and cry when I cut too close to the quick. Hurting a dog, especially a sick one, even if you mean well, is a sure fire way to go straight to hell. I tried a couple weeks ago and she pulled her foot away after one attempt. Okay girl, enough said.

I’m not as tough as I used to be. Sixteen years ago I helped our mobile vet operate on our golden retriever Sara, right on our kitchen floor. We had just come home from the hospital with baby Maria and Duncan came running into the house “Mom!!! Sara grew a wiener when you were gone!!” It turned out to be part of her uterus hanging out, all tired and leathery. Our vet told me on the phone “Try rubbing it down with sugar water to soften it up and then see if you can push it back in.” Sara and I had some serious uterus bonding in the bathroom where she couldn’t get away from the sugar water massage but I could NOT get that old puppy holder to go back in. So our cool hippy vet came to the house and we threw a tarp down on the kitchen floor and together (with Grant holding her leg out with a belt but looking away, white as a sheet) we snipped the dried up portion off and closed it up with sturdy dissolving stitches before letting it pop back inside her. It was brutal and awesome to be a part of. She lived another five years before we said goodbye to her, ironically in the very same spot that we said goodbye to Daisy.

Maybe I should smudge that area…let some smokey sage clean away any negative dog vibes that might be lingering. Maybe Duke will stop walking carefully around that spot if he smells sage. I could throw in some cow hoof and maybe some bacon bits. I don’t know. That doesn’t sound very Catholic. Maybe we’ll just cook bacon right there and let Duke have a piece or two. Then we could have BLTs. Yummy.

Yesterday I showed Duke the red plastic heart with Daisy’s ashes in it thinking maybe he would be able to smell her and feel a little better. He just looked at me blankly, wagging his tail. What good is a red plastic heart if it doesn’t have a squeaker?

I told Grant I wouldn’t be so sad over Daisy if Duke wasn’t so depressed.  “It’s just so hard to watch his despair. I wonder if we should contact Caesar the Dog Whisperer.”

He just looked at me like he always does when he thinks I am being a nutcase and picked up Duke’s squeaky ball. He threw it down the hallway and Duke left my side, noisily chasing the ball, bumping clumsily into the walls as he played his silly Duke game of hallway gorilla wall ball with his big feet. After happily entertaining himself for a few minutes he came bounding back, wagging his tail, the drool dripping ball squeaking in his mouth. Grant looked at me “Yeah. He’s pretty depressed.”

“I know” I said solemnly “It will be a long time before he gets over this one.” I should probably clip his nails.

BETTER ME MAKING: BAD ASS STYLE

It’s a brand spanking New Year. Spell check makes me capitalize these two words when they are together.

Duh! It’s the FREAKING NEW YEAR!!!! WE SHOULD CAPITALIZE ALL OF OUR LETTERS IN JANUARY TO CELEBRATE THE INFINITE POSSIBILITIES OF WHAT COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED BY ALL OF US THIS YEAR!!!

But then it might seem like we are all write-yelling at each other which could cause some hard feelings if everyone isn’t clued in on all the celebratory exuberance.

But I am a little concerned. It’s the evening of January 1 and I have not come up with any kind of plan for 2015.

Usually I have this ridiculously long list already written by mid-December and the last week is just for narrowing things down to a more manageable and achievable plan. Which things on the list do I most want to change, try or achieve? I have had to put off learning how to play the violin for years now because I have yet to actually purchase a violin. Logic has to come in somewhere in this process of better me making.

I think I may have to make last year’s goals THIS year’s goals since I mostly didn’t accomplish them last year. It seems kind of wrong to make new goals when I haven’t achieved the old ones. The plan in 2014 was to hit $3 million in sales, write a blog post every other week and get back to a loose size ten. Each goal was concrete and achievable and I have gone over and over it in my head the reasons why I didn’t succeed and I think I have it figured out.

The reason I didn’t hit my sales goal is because I didn’t have a theme song. I couldn’t take enough of my competitors’ business away from them because I didn’t have inner bad ass music playing in my head ALL THE TIME. I listened to Mozart and Lady Antebellum and Norah Jones WAY TOO MUCH. It made me soft. My theme song this year will be “Jungle” by x Ambassadors with JAY Z. It’s been decided. No more soft shit. It’s about focus. This here bad ass is gonna get it done.

The blog posting every other week goal was hard. Sometimes it takes me forever to write five hundred words. I am just not quick in the process. When I tell my family I am going to go do some writing they all groan and say “Well, guess we will see you tomorrow”. There are times when I just sit and stare at the blank screen. Other days I write Haiku with swear words or nasty limericks just to get WORDS on the page. It bugs me that writing doesn’t always just flow out of me. But when I tried to write a post every day in November I noticed that words came out easier the more I wrote, like when an athlete or a musician practices every day: they mess up a TON but eventually there is this moment when they think “I could be good if I keep at it” and this moment is jet propellant. Fuel. Everyday bad ass fuel.

Now. This size ten deal? It’s a serious quandary. I enjoyed being a loose size ten. It’s the smallest I have ever been as an adult. I felt light and peppy and free of very much jiggle. As someone who has jiggled her whole life, this was a nifty time for me. But, I was running 40-50 miles a week and questioned everything that went into my mouth “How will this affect my run tomorrow?” Seriously? Spinach and oatmeal? Lame. No one wants to be around people like this. Overachieving people who won’t let themselves eat a bag of peanut butter cups when they NEED to. Right now I am rolling my eyes at myself. My past size ten obnoxious self. I think I just might be meant to be a bigger woman, one who jiggles. I have not yet bought bigger pants but I think it’s time. I’m tired of my clothes hurting me and I’m tired of feeling like I am letting myself down by not fitting into a ten anymore. Wearing clothes that are too small for me this last year has been unkind and self defeating. I was talking to my friend the other day and we decided, after a lot of gentle words, that a size fourteen is going to be fine. It’s not obese. It’s not unhealthy. I told my husband about this conversation. He said “Are you really a size fourteen?” I say “Well I WILL BE when I BUY that size.”

I think this year I’m going to discover my real size. And whatever the hell the number is there will be spinach AND peanut butter cups and it will be bad ass in a good ass kind of way. Even if it jiggles it will have bad ass theme music. And I will practice wearing it every day and feed it bad ass fuel. Until it doesn’t hurt any more and I am comfortable being in the skin that fits in that size.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY BAD ASS PEOPLE!!!!!

Let’s Shoot the Shit

I’ve got something to tell you about. And it’s important.

I blew up my bathroom scale today.

And it was incredibly satisfying.

Actually, there weren’t any explosives involved (we were out of dynamite). Instead, I shot at that life sucking bitch fifteen times with a semi-automatic .22 pistol, followed by nine mostly successful shots from the 20 gauge pump shotgun. I didn’t use our single shot .410 Snake Charmer: after a couple of test shots, I decided it wasn’t satisfying enough. I liked the fast action of 10 quick shots with the .22 and even MORE so the foreboding pump-action sound and SMELL from the shot gun. So that stinking scale got beyond dead: she got shamed, maimed, murdered and then brutally desecrated.

All of this gun information comes directly from my husband. I am not nearly as cool as I sound in the above paragraph or all that knowledgeable when it comes to guns. He was the event planner, tour guide, very patient gun safety instructor and partner in crime on this New Year’s Eve adventure…

…which was, by the way almost permanently interrupted by a very large, (hundred pounds or so) energetic dog/puppy of Great Pyrenees/Saint Bernard descent, who appeared to be lost in the wooded area where we had decided to complete “Operation Heather has had enough of the Scale”. He (the dog, not Grant) wouldn’t hold still long enough for me to read the phone number on his collar, so I took it off and we called the number…”Uhhmm…yes sir…we DID INDEED have Max in our possession at one point and he was doing great when we last saw him but then he sort of accidentally slipped out of his collar…and well…ran…very fast…away from us…hmmm…sorry…now he’s completely MIA and without ID.”

But…we followed through with our plans…despite the stray dog bad chi…and as you can see…shot the shit out of the scale.

Scale 1

Scale 2

Scale 3

Scale 4

Scale 5

Now…guns, the right to bear arms, all that red neck conservative junk (that I fully support, especially now that I know how to load and shoot three rounds from that very cool 20 gauge shot gun…hmmm…I MAY actually be as cool as I think I am) has NOTHING to do with this blog post so don’t any of you go getting your hackles up…in any direction.

This is more about disbanding something that has been holding me hostage for a very long time: the f’ing scale.

I can remember very clearly the day I became ashamed of how much I weighed. I was a tall, skinny, sweaty, care-free twelve-year-old coming in from a nice time hanging out in the chestnut tree when my dad made a comment that I KNOW was not intended to hurt me. But his simple words have continued to echo in my brain, ricocheting off of any logical, realistic body perception, for thirty four years: “You’re getting a little chubby.” I shrugged and laughed it off but ran immediately upstairs to the bathroom scale where my world changed. My ninety-five pounds suddenly felt exposed and unacceptable now that it was defined as chubby.

Hold on though…this blog post ALSO isn’t a pity party where I blame one, less than considerate, sentence from a well-meaning dad…

…though parents: please don’t say that, ever, to your kids, or to anyone for that matter, it’s just plain rude

…on thirty four years of low self-esteem. My self-esteem is pretty solid…most days…

…but I decided that it could be perhaps nurtured some in 2014, and after getting on that awful contraption this morning (and seeing that I was STILL ten pounds heavier than I have been used to during the last five years) I decided that I was no longer going to let IT decide for me whether I was feeling good or bad about myself.

First of all, there are plenty of ways to determine when it might be time to drop a pound or two. Take for instance the other evening when I was cooking something on the stove (I know, weird) and reached up above the stove to retrieve something from the top cupboard and SMELLED sizzling flesh before I felt the terrible pain on the tender belly fat hanging over my jeans. It was shocking. My husband was witness to my laugh-tears of agony. Clearly I need to buy different jeans. Or never cook again. Or…wear cool body armor if I do cook. Hmmm…that’s a serious digression but I think I might have just come up with a way to make cooking adventuresome…complete with some kind of nifty metal hat and a sword…NO…a machete…for the salads I will make in 2014…

Second, who the heck CARES about 10 pounds!  I am forty-six years old and shit in my body is changing again, just like it did when I was twelve and working into curves; seventeen and working out of curves with obsessive running; nineteen and fighting a little “college sad” with cheap pasta; 27, 29, 32, 34, 36 and 38 (jeez) after every baby where I was kind of just…well I don’t really remember…but there are pictures…and the first five of forty…which were DAMN cool, filled with energy, more obsessive running and extreme, over the top goals. I am now in what I like to think of as the better half of forty and my happy word is not going to be skinny but instead B-A-L-A-N-C-E…but not in a measuring kind of weigh (note my punny)…I am never again going to use a scale to measure my body’s worth…instead I am going to measure myself each moment by the content of joy it contains. Naturally there will be the usual H Lists…the new year is the joyful mecca land for list makers like me…but this year they won’t be about changing…they will be about enjoying!

My friends: let’s be our best, right here and now, AS IS, which is perfect and awesome when you squint and grin. Let’s give up weighing, measuring, or comparing ourselves to anyone else, not even to our “selves from yesterday”. Disarm whatever is holding you hostage from being who YOU are, right NOW. Shoot that shit!

Much love to you all in a balanced 2014!

P.S. A follow up on the dog Max…we went to his home…collar in our hand…heads low with sad…and there he was on the front porch, leaping with joy, saying (in dog talk) “My people who are not my people! I am so glad to see you again!” He jumped up on me, almost knocking my petite self down while Grant managed to get his collar back on. There was no one home except Max, but he knew where he belonged and that was a joyful moment…that I am measuring!