Friday, February 28, 2014

Here's Wishing You the Bluest Sky

Phillip Seymour Hoffman  7/23/67-2/2/14
Phillip Seymour Hoffman had it all.  He died at the height of his career.  He had a very promising future.  He was certainly not the face you'd associate with drug abuse, but he was an addict.

This man relapsed and died from an accidental drug overdose following 23 YEARS OF SOBRIETY.  Surely, this is evidence that addiction is an incurable disease.  Perhaps, it is manageable with appropriate support, skilled decision making, and lots of will power, BUT, an addict is always an addict, forevermore.

This is really on my mind today.

My sister is leaving rehab very soon.  I know it's been hard for her, but her admission there was a great relief for me.  For 6 months, I have gone to bed without wondering if she'd still be alive when I woke up.  I prayed and prayed and PRAYED for her to live long enough to get to rehab. And she did.  And I felt elation. Bliss. A release of fear. You don't know that kind of fear unless you've lived it.  I laid on my face, on the floor, begging God to keep her safe.  Every night.

We're not close, and being around her is difficult for me, but she's my sister.  I hope rehab has helped her find strength and make goals for herself.  Perhaps she's leaving with new dreams for her future and a support network to keep her motivated.

I'm really making an effort to approach her more positively in the coming years.  I want to be supportive, I really do.  It's hard for me to let go of the anger I feel for her.  I've never learned to accept the apology that's never been offered.  But I need to.

I must learn to stop seeing her as an addict and start seeing her as a person.  She's someone, and that person deserves a good life, even if she's not the who I want her to be.

So, sister, if you're reading this,

Here's wishing you the bluest sky,
And hoping something better comes tomorrow.
Hoping all the verses rhyme,
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the drudge and sadness.
I know that better things are on the way.  ***

***Song originally recorded by the Kinks.  I give you a remake by Pearl Jam, because, well, Pearl Jam. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I've Got Headaches and Bad Luck

I've been having a lot of headaches lately.  Sometimes, the pain is so intense I can't even open my eyes.  It's caused me a lot of concern because I'm not one to get headaches.  I've blamed it on the weather and my constantly clogged sinuses, but really, I was beginning to worry about other causes.

Then I read this.  Basically the article states there is a link between sleeping with your phone under your pillow and headaches.

"Do not Keep the phone under your pillow: It is a dangerous practice to keep your cellphone tucked under your pillow while sleeping. The waves emanating from mobile phones can cause severe headache and can lead to other disorders in the long run."

I am an idiot. I have been sleeping with my cell phone under my pillow since September.  As a substitute teacher, my income depends on being available to answer the phone when a desperate principal calls.  Sometimes those calls are at 5am.  I can sleep through anything, so I've been keeping the phone close in hopes that I will hear it.  

I can't believe I've done this without thinking how dangerous it could be!  I never carry my cell phone in my bra.  Never.  It's incredibly dangerous and could cause breast cancer.  As much as I complain about their overly-ample size, I'm not sacrificing my girls for phone storage.  (And it's "People of Walmart" trashy.) 

I stopped sleeping with my cell under my pillow 5 nights ago.  I haven't had a headache since.  Coincidence?  I'd like to think not.  Check out this neat-o evolution of the cell phone pic.  

We should go back to that giant, white Motorola "Zach Morris" cellphone.  No one could sleep with that under their pillow or store it inside the bra.  

***Post title lyrics:  All of the Gin Joints in the World by Fall Out Boy.  I couldn't find a clever way of working that into the post.  I'll try harder next time.  Or maybe not. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

You Long to Say a Thousand Words

There's a meme floating around the internet asking, "If you could write one word to your younger self, what would it be?"  I've often replied, "Run!" which would have been great advice.  It's a silly little meme, probably not intended to be thought about, but it sparked inspiration in me.  How can one really answer that question in just one word?  There's a lot more I want to tell to my younger self, you know, if I ever got a Marty McFly-like chance to travel through time.  Allow me to present: a letter to my younger self.

Dear April (or Apryl...remember when you tried that out?!)

Life is hard right now.  I know you're thinking it will always be that way.  It won't.  You will arrive at a place where rules will be consistent.  You will know what you can and can't do from day to day.  You won't live in fear any longer.  You'll laugh every day.

There will be many hardships between now and then.  You'll face many embarrassments before you even graduate from high school.  You'll color your hair.  Often.  When you color it fire engine red, your mother will call the police.  Be prepared for that so that you don't laugh at the officer who is just as irritated to deal with the call as you are.

You're going to run away from home when you're 15.  I wish I could tell you that's a mistake, but it's not.  Run away.  Go where you think you should.  There will be people there who love you.  You will be caught; you will be scared.  You're life will change for the better. You'll finish high school in a much better place than where you started.

When you're 14 years old, you will meet a boy at a football game who will be nicer to you than you've ever thought was possible.  The two of you will spend the next 3.5 years breaking each other's hearts before you both realize you can't force destiny.  Years will pass with very little contact with him.  But, in your 30s (yes, I know that's old to you now) the two of you will depend on each other for friendship, prayer, and emotional support. And, thanks to something called the "internet" (you're going to love it!) you will have the ability to chat as often as you'd like, for free. (Because you're kind of a miser.)

Before you graduate high school, you will meet your husband.  You'll know right away that he's the one.  He's AMAZING.  Be kind to him.  Always.  Even when you don't feel like it.  Even when he's on your last nerve.  Shower him with words of praise.  He will need it.  Don't take 15 years to realize his love language.  Let me tell you, it's Words of Affirmation.  You will need to work on this.  Affirmation does not come naturally to you.  I know you are not given praise from your parents and it embarrasses you when others compliment you, but he'll need these words to feel appreciated and loved.  Practice being more affirming in other relationships while you're waiting to meet him.

You're going to go to college!   Yes, you are!  Don't listen to anything negative coming from people (your mother) around you.  You're going and you will love it!  You'll live in a dorm and have a food plan. (Load up on nonperishable foods, and save some $$$ for dinners out, because the dorm food is lousy!) You'll meet your best friends and some of them will remain important to you decades later.

Don't be in such a rush to get married.  It can wait. You'll likely want to jump right into marriage.  That's you.  Leap and look later. Maybe you should consider living together before marriage.  Trust me.  You'll want this.  He balls up his socks when he takes them off and it will make you crazy! You should know this, and many other things, before you marry him. Or maybe not.  No, definitely not.

College will be fun and you won't feel done when it's over.  DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL.  You will have an adviser convince you that this is the next step for you.  Be confident.  Listen to your heart.  It's not.  You'll commit to 3 years of HELL and a lifetime of debt.  Avoid it.  Go to grad school.  Get an education degree.  Teach.  You won't regret it.

Be prepared to lose relationships that are important to you.  Things change.  People change. Feelings change. Seasons change.  You'll get passed it.  You'll be better for having lived through it.  And people are going to disappoint you.  You'll watch loved ones suffer from their own vices.  You'll see friends go to prison.  You'll bury titans.  Do not be discouraged, for while their stories end, your's is still being written.

You will have children.  Take a minute.  Digest that.  CHILDREN.  I know you think you'll never be a mother, but you will.  At 12 years old, you'll decide it's better to let abuse die with you than to pass it to the next generation.  You'll carry those feelings with you for at least another decade. However, at some point, you'll want to be a mother more than anything in the world, and you'll try your best to be everything for them that you never had.  Sometimes you'll fail, but you'll keep trying.  I could fill volumes with stories about your children, but some things you need to discover for yourself.  Just know, you are going to experience so much joy.  There will be rough patches, especially when you're 31 years old, but every second of difficulty will be repaid tenfold in pure bliss.

Keep going, kid.  You're going to make it.  By the time you reach my age, you'll have it all.

Love yourself,

The Woman You're Going to Be

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Some Days it Don't Come Easy

I'm not crafty.  I don't enjoy cutting or gluing or anything like that.  If I'm making something with my hands, it's likely a sandwich.  However, my friend, Leslie, over at My Mommy's Place, is so creative.  She makes amazing things for her children.  I  love checking her blog to see what new, unbelievably-uber-awesome thing she's been up to.

My daughter is aware of Leslie's mad skills.  For a fall party, Leslie and her daughter assembled treat bags to pass out to her daughter's classmates.  I showed the blog post to Mason.  She looked at me and said, "When it's our turn to take something, we're taking gift bags too."  I thought, "sure, sure...I hope you forget."  She didn't.  So, now that it's Valentine's Day and her turn to provide something for the party, she signed us up for treat bags!

I originally thought we'd do bags like these.  Minions are crazy popular, right.  We could also make a coordinating Valentine's box and Valentines to pass out!  Oh, the possibilities!  Then, the teacher sent home a letter stating that students were not bringing in their own boxes.  I was pissed. How can you have Valentine's Day without a box????  I understand that schools have started to do away with things like this because some kids have asshole parents whom don't help them put together boxes and a child should never feel left out.  I get that.  However, I had asshole parents whom never helped me do my boxes.  I have never had an artsy bone in my body.  While other students brought in beautiful boxes, mine were the standard covered-in-foil-tissue-and-stickers boxes.  They were always ugly, but they were mine.  I made them and was incredibly proud.

After struggling to find the yellow bags, I pitched the whole idea and settled on something easier.  Let's face it, Mason wasn't going to help much.  I'd be lucky if she applied glue and stuffed the bags with the goodies I purchased.  Since I knew I'd do most of the work, I chose these.  Simple, easy to do, and super cute.

This is an actual picture of the bags I made.  Aren't they adorable?  Oh, they were so easy! The bags are lunch sacks.  I cut the tops off with pinking shears, then punched holes for the handles.  Next, I traced a heart-shaped cookie cutter onto a piece of red-glitter card stock and cut out the hearts.  Mason glued the hearts onto the bags using a giant glue stick.  Finally, I used ribbon to make the handles.  You'll notice there are two different kinds of handles.  I bought a 12 foot roll of ribbon.  I needed to make 18 bags.  I measured and cut the ribbon in 9 inch sections.  I only got 12 segments and ran out.  12 feet, my arse!

Inside the bags are stickers, 2 suckers, a pencil and eraser, a heart-shaped candy, a candy necklace, and a ring made from a pipe cleaner and a Hershey's kiss.  Mason received one at the Chocolate Extravaganza this past weekend.  They looked simple enough, so I made some too.  Here's a pic...not mine.   I stole it from Pinterest.  Apparently, others are doing these cute, little favors too.

I am not good at this stuff.  I'm really not.  I don't enjoy it.  But I'd do anything for my children...even go out of my comfort zone and make something crafty for them.  I bet Meatloaf doesn't craft, either.

"Lego" is popular for Valentine's Day this year.  If you haven't seen the movie and don't want to venture out into the cold, you can watch it, FREE, by clicking here.  HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Go On and Scream

I'm not a perfect mother.  Sometimes, I'm not even a good mother.  I can be incredibly unfair.  I admit, I hold my daughter to a higher standard than the boys. She's older and I expect much more from her.  BUT, I think I expected more from her at 3 years old than I do from the boys now at 3 years old.  I've always had high expectations for her.  And she routinely exceeds them.

My girl was two-and-a-half years old when the twin boys arrived.  She was fairly independent.  She usually dressed herself and put on her own shoes.  She helped pick up the house and took her own plate/cup/utensils to the sink after meals.  She knew the entire alphabet and could count to 20.  She could also visually identify the numbers 0-20.  Her independence was a blessing when the boys arrived.

Since June 4, 2010, the boys' birth date, I've been fighting drowning.  In the first year, I nearly went under, but somehow managed to keep my head above the water.  I made it through, to shallower water, badly beaten against the rocks along the way.

When the boys turned two-and-a-half, the waters ahead looked better and better.  I started to hope I would finally find a way to wade myself to shore.  Routine, limiting public exposure, and NOT TRAVELING ANYWHERE were key to surviving the baby/toddler years.

But, just as I stretched my entire upper body out of the water, got a good look at the land ahead, and took a deep breath, I felt the current pulling at me;  dragging me away from that promising shore.  Back to the depths, where the waves are rough and the fight is so hard.

At three-and-a-half, I feel like we've come back to the beginning.  The fits are so hard to handle.  Fighting.  Whining.  Someone is ALWAYS crying.  The screaming.  Oh God-save-me, the screaming.  JoJo, twin B, is so difficult I've had to take a time outs and get away from him.  I can never please him and his frequent fits sometimes make life less enjoyable for everyone in our home.  The other kids give in to him to avoid the fit that follows when he doesn't get his way.  Despite our efforts to stop that, it continues.  Kids are better at picking their battles, I guess.  I'm a nervous wreck around him.  One of us needs medicated to survive the other.

Both boys are highly attached to me.  I cannot do anything in our home without them right beside me or even on top of me.  Both boys want to be carried around like babies.  (SERIOUSLY!) I never give in to that.  But it's wearing me thin.  If I leave the room, both boys come running after me, screaming for me, begging me not to leave.  I don't know where this separation anxiety comes from.  I rarely leave them anywhere.  I feel like I'm terrorized, held prisoner by an army of little kids.

Every day, I feel the water rising higher and higher.  I've lost sight of the shore. I'm going under.