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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

To Tell the Truth

I love it when my kids fess up and tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

This morning I asked Zach a question.  He didn't have to tell me the truth.  He probably could have gotten away with a lie quite easily but he didn't.  He told the truth.  And for that I will be eternally grateful.  I will look at him with more trusting eyes when it comes time for him to ask for a little more freedom.

He is looking toward a big goal right now.  He is staring down the road, his mouth watering, getting himself ready to take his first solo voyage in the car.  He doesn't want to jeopardize anything that will allow him the freedom he is so anxious to have.  The goal is his license and the means to that goal is earning and keeping our trust.

I am proud of him for telling the truth.  A lie would have been easy but he saw the bigger picture ~ thankfully.

Oh, for the love of my children....


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Buying Time

On Friday May 25, 2012 Zach brought up the fact that it was the day he could actually get his driver's license.  He had held his permit for nine months, making him eligible age and time wise but there was one small requirement he hadn't fulfilled yet...he hadn't finished driver's ed.  He still has his behind the wheel instruction to finish and he won't be done with that for another week.

The timing of his driver's ed course bought me a few more days of not having to watch him drive away from the house without me in the car.  I got to buy a few more days of knowing he is still 100% not allowed to drive without a responsible adult in the passenger seat next to him.  This small amount of time he has left without the freedom of a driver's license has bought me a few days more with peace of mind.  I know the time is coming for him to drive away unsupervised but I have to say I love that I got to buy a few more days of having Zach a little dependent on me.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Can I Actually Spot a Liar?

I'd like to think I can, especially with my kiddos but truth is, I just don't know.

Yesterday presented me with a challenge to see if I could, indeed, spot a liar in my midst.  I am still shaking my head and wondering.  You see, Lucas is in trouble ~ again.  He claims he didn't do it.  He claims others are blaming him for something he didn't do but the problem is there are many saying he did do it and only one saying he didn't do it.  The one voice saying, vehemently, that he didn't do it is Lucas.

What he did is a bit irrelevant to the story I want to tell.  But I can assure you it had nothing to do with drugs, alcohol, stealing, weaponry, threats, bullying, destruction of property or anything illegal...it had everything to do with 13 year old boy stupidity.   Besides being an aside to the story, what he did is not my story to tell.  It's Lucas' and I don't want to put anything out there that will cause him pain.

I will tell the story from the beginning ~ meaning there is background on this and I will do what I can to fill you in.

Yesterday, Lucas was called in to the assistant principal's office for the third time this year.  All of his infractions have been, what we consider, relatively minor offenses...also known as stupid boy pranks.  Again, there was nothing illegal in any of what he did.  Disrespectful and moronic? Yes.  Illegal or destructive?  No.  All three things were things we all did as kids...and most of us probably never got caught for.  Lucas hasn't been so fortunate.  His first infraction, squirting the contents of a juice box all over the bus, was stupid, sticky and resulted in an in school suspension.  It also resulted in a major loss of privileges here at home.  The second infraction was similar in nature...just moronic tendencies of a 13 year old boy coming out in spades.  It also resulted in an in school suspension and more loss of privileges here at home.  Yesterday, I got the call home from the assistant principal and I knew.  I knew Lucas screwed up again. The principle went on to tell me a tale of Lucas and his group of "friends."   Some of Lucas' friends were caught in the act of behaving stupidly.  They were called into the principle's office to give their account of the story.  In questioning these other boys the principle asked who else was involved in the stupidity (my word, not the principle's) and they implicated Lucas, one of Lucas' "friends" told the principle Lucas did it to him.  Lucas was called in to give his version, his denial was emphatic and vehement but in the end the principle believed the other boys' accounts of the story and called me. The principal told me, point blank, he believes Lucas is lying about his involvement in what happened with this group of boys.  Lucas will pay a heavy price both at school and at home.  He will serve an out of school suspension followed by an unspecified amount of hard labor here at home.

We do not take screwing up lightly.  We don't take being lied to lightly.  We have the bar of standards set incredibly high for our kids and when they screw up they pay a heavy price here at home.

Last summer, Zach and his friend were caught nearly red handed doing something they shouldn't have been doing and instead of coming clean about what happened Zach decided to lie.  The truth came out and there was hell to pay for Zach.  He was in solitary confinement for six weeks...no phone, no internet, no friends, no nothing...all summer long.  Zach's punishment would not have been nearly as severe if it hadn't been for the lying.  Lying to us, right to our faces, is what got him in the world of hurt in which Zach lived last summer.  Lucas was a witness to all everything, and I do mean everything, that Zach had to hear from us.

So when Lucas came home yesterday, swearing he had nothing to do with what happened I stopped and listened, hard.  I watched his body language.  I watched his eyes.  I watched every facet of everything he did.  And while I don't believe he is entirely innocent, I also don't believe his involvement is at the level the principal is saying. I was there as Lucas looked me square in the eye and said, more vehemently than I could ever imagine coming out of Lucas, "I didn't do it."  His eyes didn't budge from mine. He didn't look down and to the side as he spoke.  His hands didn't move upward to touch his face.  He didn't lick his lips nor did his blinking pattern become more pronounced.  All signs of someone telling the truth.  But I'm no body language expert so a part of me wonders if he is a great actor and he is guilty.  A part of me does believe, though, that he is a more little innocent than guilty.  He watched what Zach went through last summer because of his lie and I don't think he would go looking to have that same kind of punishment inflicted on him.    As his mom, I so want to believe him but I also don't want to get snookered, taken for a ride and left more disappointed, knowing trusting him is off the table.  So now, he will have to face the consequences for hanging out with a crowd that is taking him down a bad path.

Whether is he guilty or innocent is of little consequence as far as the school is concerned.  He will pay the price for his misdeed by serving an out of school suspension.  He will pay a price here at home as well.  He is now in solitary confinement...facebook is gone.  His phone is gone.  His iPod is gone.  He will have to write me a five page essay on using common sense and the negative effects lying.  He will have to achieve an A on his paper before he will get one of his things back and then he will have more work from there.  He has trust to build back up and he has a lot of work ahead of him.

I truly wish I could spot a liar...for the love of my children.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I Think I Took A Left Onto CrAzY Street!!!

I'm pretty sure last night's dream proved the point that I am headed down CrAzY Street and I may be headed toward Wackoville.  Last night I had a dream about junk food.  Specifically Pop Tarts...

I admit it...I can be a little overzealous about food ~ organic versus non-organic, picking fruits and veggies over junk food most of the time.  I don't mind junk food...as long as it's my kind of junk food.  Trader Joe's is my go to place for picking out my kind of junk food, no preservatives, no dyes and mostly organic ingredients. I'm a little OK with junk food from there because I try to keep my pantry as dye free as possible for Lucas.  He goes a little loco with dyes.  So, yes...I am a little zealot sometimes.  

But now my crazy brain has started dreaming about my, ummmm, shall we say "tendencies."  Last night I had a dream Lucas had a package of Pop Tarts, the real ones...the ones full of chemicals, preservatives and artificial DYES (not the ones I buy...the organic ones without a hint of an artificial dye).  And I went a little nutso, in my dream.  I started yelling at Lucas, tearing the package of Pop Tarts out of his hand, asking him what on earth he was thinking.  I yanked that package of Pop Tarts out of his hands so quickly I think his head actually spun in my dream.  He had no idea what hit him.  In my dream, I raced to the trash can, yelling the whole time about what crap he was putting into his body and how dare he do that when he knows exactly how the dyes affect his brain.  I woke up being so thankful it was just a dream, knowing I really didn't go after Lucas for a silly pack of Pop Tarts.

But obviously my brain is registering the fact that I am maybe slightly crazy and perhaps a bit overzealous when it comes to food in our house.  Of course Lucas didn't help me feel any better about my crazy tendencies when I saw him at the bus stop this morning and he was drinking a Sprite at 7:45...where he got it, I have no idea.  I'm thinking he's thriving on keeping me on CrAzY Street and is actually helping me steer to Wackoville.

Oh, for the love of my children....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Day Zach Quit Hockey

Zach officially walked away from the sport he has loved since the he was six years old.  He says he will always love hockey.  He will still play around at hockey but his desire to play higher level hockey is gone.

He had no idea how to skate when he set his skates on the ice that first time.  His hockey stick looked like a shepherd's crook by the end of his first season.  He had no idea how to do a hockey stop so he used his stick to stop himself...turning the blade of his stick into a curved mess.  But he didn't care.  All he cared about was getting on the ice, feeling the rush of the icy wind on his face and working to get better and better.  In those early years, he would pick out the best kid on his team and say "See that kid over there, I'm gonna be better than him someday."  It worked for him.  He pushed himself harder and harder.  Hockey was his first love.

I will tell you the story of how he came to say "good bye" to his first love through a letter I hope he someday reads.  But not now, not yet.  My emotions are too raw and too much, I think, for him to be able to handle right now.  As I sit here typing, my throat is constricted and tears are rolling down my cheeks.  There is so much more to the sport of hockey, for me, than simply watching a game.  For me, right now, this means Zach is growing up...

Dear Zach,

I have watched you play the game you love for 10 years so I hope you understand, someday, how hard your decision is for me.  The hockey rink is the place where I have watched you grow from a little boy into a man-child.  The hockey rink is the place where fast friendships were formed and a broader sense of family was created.  Hockey was your fist love and it turned into mine as well.  I never expected to be a hockey mom.  I never expected to fall so in love with a sport that most consider violent.  But I love it.  I love watching you play.  As you take your place at the door, waiting for your shift on the ice, I watch you ready yourself to spring into action.  I see you zero in on your opponent who has the puck and prepare yourself to pounce.  There are times you are like a shark out there...circling your prey ~ striking at just the right moment.  I love watching you skate, effortlessly, up the ice and back again.  I love watching the plays form between you and your teammates.  But most of all, I love watching the bonds form between you and the young men who started as teammates but became friends.

The hockey rink is where, we, as parents developed nearly familial bonds with other parents who were as passionate (or crazy) as we are.  It was at the hockey rink where you started to come out of your shy, shell a little and realize that you didn't have to do something perfectly the first time you tried it.  The hockey rink instilled a confidence in you that, try as we might, we never could.  When we moved from Louisville to Richmond this close knit hockey community embraced us and took us under its wing, making us an immediate part of the big, giant hockey family.  I will be eternally grateful to all that the hockey rink has given to you and, by default, us.  The hockey rink has become synonymous with family for me.

I want you to know, though, that I am so very proud of you for making your decision.  I know it hasn't been easy on you and I am sure I haven't helped your process much ~ for that I am sorry, I have been a little selfish and a lot worried.

I am selfish because I am sad your decision has been made to walk away from hockey.  You are such a fabulous hockey player and your decision has left me reeling and feeling off kilter.  I wasn't expecting last season to be your last season.  I wasn't prepared for you to say "it's gone from 'I get to play hockey' to 'I have play hockey.'"  How very grown up of you...you are growing up, literally, before my eyes.  And selfishly, that makes me sad. 

And I worried that your decision wasn't made for the right reasons.  After our talk last night, I know you have made the decision that seems most natural to you.  I thought your decision was based on the fact that you were cut from the U16AAA team.   But your decision to leave the world of travel hockey makes sense to me and now I know it was made well before the U16AAA tryouts.  You had already refocused yourself and your aspirations on lacrosse.  The lacrosse coaches have encouraged you and built you up in a way you haven't had before.  I understand.  Your hockey coaches have always encouraged you, lead you well and taught you to love the game of hockey.  But your lacrosse coaches have given you accolades and encouragement.  They want you to go big.  And that's not such a little deal to you...you want to play college sports.  You understand that you need to embrace the sport that is giving you the most positive feedback.  As we talked last night, you reminded me about an opposing team's coach seeking you out after a game, wishing you well in your college lacrosse career ~ that, to you, means the world.  My worry is gone.

But my sadness still remains.  It remains because all of these decisions mean you are growing up.  And my heart hurts to think the shy, little boy who stepped on the ice 10 years ago has become such an intelligent, young man who dreams big dreams and will be leaving our nest far too soon.  Watching you walk away from hockey...the page is turning on your childhood and I am not ready to see that chapter end.  I am not ready for you to grow up.  Maybe I never will be.  But, Zach, I love you, respect you and know you are ready to take on the next chapter in your life.  The sadness is mine to deal with...just like watching you grow up.

I am very proud of you, my man-child.

With love.
Always ~
Mom

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I was 35 years old the first time I ever got to wish my mother a Happy Mother's day.  I had wished my mom Happy Mother's day, with cards, flowers, presents and heaps of love, since the day I learned how to talk but my mother...well, that was different.

I didn't know who she was, what her her name was or where she lived.  It was when I turned 35 that my questions were answered and my search for my mother was complete.  She and my mom share not only a daughter but they also share a name.  Her name is Denise and she is my biological mother.

I was given up for adoption when I was 4 days old, placed in a foster home for a short amount of time and then delivered to my parents when I was 21 days old.  My adoption was finalized by the time I was six months old ~ making me officially a Combs and no longer a ward of the state of Texas.  All of my records were sealed when my adoption was complete.  Everything about me, before I became a Combs, was now shrouded in mystery.  My birth certificate was altered to show that Denise and Frank Combs were now the parents of Jennifer Denise Combs.  Just one small trace of the other Denise remained ~ her name.  Her name was with me all through my life, I just didn't know it.  

It was one of my biggest shocks during the search for her ~ finding out my mother and my mom share a name.  My original birth certificate came in the mail sometime in September of 2003.  And her name was the only thing I think I saw on the piece of paper that recorded the day of my birth.  I had imagined her, in my head, for years and years.  I imagined what she looked like, what she sounded like and what her name might be, never for one second stopping to consider that her name would be Denise.  The second biggest shock of the search came when the rest of the paper work was released to me in October of 2003 and I found out that Denise's mother's name is Claire.  My darling daughter, with the name of Claire Denise carries the names of her mom, two of her grandmothers and her great grandmother.  I think I let a little shriek when I read my biological grandmother's name.

The first time I wished Denise a Happy Mother's Day was in 2004.  When I found her, I sent a letter.  I shared it with you all quite sometime ago.  I titled it "Letters"    (http://www.jennicombs.com/2011/02/letters.html.)  I have kept every single one of our letters.  They are in a binder, waiting for the opportunity to tell the story of my adoption and the completion of my search.  For now, here is part of what Denise wrote to me after she got the first ever Mother's Day card from me....

Dear Jenni,

Received your card today, thank you so much.  How very thoughtful of you!  I hope when the day comes and we get to meet each other, you continue to think of me as...."remarkable"!  (As I sit here with a wide brim straw hat plopped on my head, hair stringing down, sequinned tee shirt and cargo shorts!  I am such a ditzy woman..!!  Years ago my brother called my "Georgie Girl"... guess I will never change)

Megan (Denise's other daughter) and I met for breakfast this morning and she has given me the most thoughtful Mama's day gift I've known.  She got it at Hallmark, maybe you've seen them.  It's a suspended heart with the first heart opening for photo inserts on either side.  Then dangling and suspended from the heart are three charms.  Girl, Boy, Girl...>(Angie, Jason, Megan)  Open the second heart and YOUR charm is there!  In the heart!  I got all misty eyed and Megan KNEW it!  She laughed and was tickled with the reaction!  This is really a good holiday for me.  Now I know you really ARE in my life, in your own special way.

....

Opened my mail last night....your letter, May 12th was here!  (At this point please realize, I had seriously considered deleting the second paragraph from THIS letter...CAUSE I DIDN'T WANT YOU TO THINK I WAS BEING PUSHY!!)  I'm so happy you want to meet me.  I've been walking around for months saying "I know Jenni and are going meet..."  The Monday after Mother's Day, someone at work showed me a photo of her two grown daughters, and then asked me how mine was.  I said it was without a doubt, my very best.  I really don't talk about my personal life at work, but Marsha persisted.  So I finally said...got a few minutes to hear my story?  She did, I told her about you and Megan's heart and she cried.  Said it was the most beautiful thing she had ever heard.  Marsha cried, I cried, we hugged, she cried some more, I cried some more...we hugged some more.  It was rather niche to share this with someone outside the family

.....

Have a safe trip this weekend, can't wait for your next letter!  My love to all, hope your father is doing well!!  Til then my long ago child...

With love,
Denise

So with that, I wish all of you Mamas out there the most wonderful day!  I hope you are spending it exactly as you deserve, making it your very best ever...feeling the love of your children in your hearts ~ always!




Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Bitch Within

It's true...there is a true bitch within.  My alter ego.  For the most part I do a good job of hiding her but every now and again she comes raging out ~ unstoppable.  I feel her bubbling to the surface and usually I can stop her but there are times I just can't.  It is then I just have to let her have her way, try to do as little damage as possible and then rein her in as quickly and quietly as I can.  But when I can't control her, I fix my eyes straight ahead wherever I am and I just roll as my alter ego.

She came to be, the bitch within, sometime in late high school and early college.  When my brother was dating the woman who would become his first wife he told me to "lighten up on her a little and stop looking down on her like a snobby, little, bitch."  That's when she was first born.  She became stronger as other people, people I didn't know well, would tell me I had the look of a complete and total bitch until I smiled or they got to know me ~ then the bitch disappeared and, to them, I became my regular, old, silly Jenni ~ the one who could break down in a fit of giggles at a moment's notice or dress up like a "hippy chick" with my room mates and head to Aggieville to strut our stuff through the local bar district at K-State.  But the "bitch within" stayed with me and there were times, in the days of way back when, that I used her to my advantage ~ times when she was a necessary evil. For the most part, though, I tried hard to be the silly, funny, light-hearted Jenni who smiled easily and who tried hard to draw others in rather than scare them away with my bitchiest look.

In the intervening years, I tried hard to bury the bitch within.  She's not nice.  She's snarky and mean spirited.  The nasty thoughts that stay buried deep in the recesses of my brain come flying out when the bitch within surfaces.   And surface she has ~ just in the past couple of days.  She came flying out the other day when a car didn't stop at a stop sign for the cross walk as I was walking across.  The words came flying out of my mouth as the driver flew through the stop sign.  His windows were down and I said, in my bitchiest, most condescending tone "Nice stop, jack-wagon."  He heard me.  I tried hard to suppress her for the rest of the day but it didn't work.  She came out again and again.  So for that day, it was just easier to keep my eyes fixed ahead, embrace my inner bitch and roll. I buried her as soon as I could and put my sunshiny face back on and embraced the real me.

Luckily, kiddos rarely catch a glimpse of my bitch within.  She's not someone I want them to know.  But I know where she comes from and how she came to be.  She comes from my dad who could be the nastiest, meanest s-o-b when he wanted to.  He always embarrassed the hell out of me when he became that s-o-b. I don't want them to suffer through the same kind of embrassment I felt as a kid.  And I certainly don't want to pass my alter ego down to my kiddos, especially Claire.  They don't deserve to be saddled with any facet of my nasty bitch within.

Oh, for the love of my children....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I'm the Feeler ~ He's the Doer

On nearly a daily basis, when it comes to talking about our kids, Stan will say something to the effect of "Well, they didn't say that to me."  And on those days I have to remind him that the kids talk to him much differently than they talk to me.

Stan is a doer...he is the one who imposes limits, sets expectations and makes them do.  He doesn't get the feeling side of a story very often, not even from Claire.  Sometimes I am not sure he grasps the feeling side of things at all. Sorry to throw you under the bus, Love, but this story is just too good...

Yesterday, for example, Stan walked into the house from the garage.  Claire was sitting at the counter in the kitchen working on her homework on the computer.  She gave him a bit of a huffy "hello" and went back to working on her homework.  Stan said "Hey Claire, what's up?"  She responded with "I'm in a bad mood."  I shot the warning look to Stan, which I guess he interpreted as a challenge, and he proceeded to pick up the glass clackers (you know the ones I'm talking about ~ I think we all had them when we were kids.  There were two glass balls joined together by a string, with a ring at the top and you could clack them together over and over and over again to drive your parents to complete and utter distraction) and he started clacking the balls together making the annoying clack, clack, clack, clack noise.  Another warning look passed from me to him and then it happened ~ the waterworks started and Claire began to cry from frustration and anger.  Frustration because she said she was in a bad mood and anger because Stan didn't respect her mood.  He decided it would be a good idea to goad the dragon.  I left him there to clean up the mess that he created ~ after all, he's the doer.  He pissed her off, it was up to him to do something to make it right.


I am the "feeler"...the one who gets the feelings side of a story.  I'm the one who can pull out of them what they makes them tick.  I am the one who sees the excitement, the sadness, the frustration because I can feel it.  It's tangible to me.  I don't know if it's a "mom" thing or if it's a "me" thing but I've got the feelings covered.  I knew to leave Claire alone yesterday.  I felt it.  Anger was radiating off of her.  I knew enough to let her stew and work it out.  And she did, eventually (and after she calmed down from Stan pissing her off).  I'm the one who gets the low down on what's really going on upstairs, in the kids messy heads.  I get to take a little walk inside their brains every now and again.  I hear what they're thinking about sports, school, girls (no boys yet ~ thank heavens!) and where they want to go in life.  I hear when Lucas is upset because he can't quite grasp something and he feels stupid.  I hear when Claire is so conflicted about which school she should choose.  I hear the quiet anguish in Zach's voice as he tries to come to grips with what he wants moving forward with sports.  I feel it all so I can pull it out.

I don't know if this irritates Stan to the point he thinks I am making it up or if his manner is just so black and white, with very little gray, that he can't see what it is I feel.  Or maybe he'd just rather push, impose limits and make them do!  Personally, I like the feelings side of things.

Actually, I kind of like how Stan and I work together with him being the doer and me being the feeler.  I think it works well for the kids to know they can turn to one or the other and find what they need ~ black and white limits with a side of "get it done" or a set of arms waiting to listen and feel what it is the kids don't quite know how to speak.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

He's Lucky He's Cute

First, let me issue a blanket apology to all of you mamas out there whose daughters may, someday, be interested in dating or (heaven forbid) marrying one of my boys.  They are spoiled, spoiled, spoiled...especially the oldest one and he's setting quite example for his younger brother to follow.  Now, on to my story....

Three things about this morning's adventure in getting a certain someone out the door.

1.  I can't do everything.  I know, I know...I am actually supposed to sprout wings or a cape and be able to fly (OK, maybe it's actually a broom I need to fly) around and get absolutely everything done.  But truth of the matter is, I can't.  I can't sprout wings, capes are good for looks only and brooms well they only get me in a witchy mood.  I am stuck being a human mama who can't do everything.  So when Zach comes breezing downstairs at 8:15 asking me for eggs, that's a can do, but when I see him tying a tie around his neck alarm bells start ringing and I know the schedule has been altered.  And the conversation goes something like this...

Me: "Ummm, what are you doing?"
Zach: "It's our last home game tonight and we all have to wear ties."
Me:  "I know it's your last home game.  So what are shirt are you wearing with that tie?"
Zach:  Pointing to a shirt hanging in the laundry room "This one."
Me: "Doesn't that need to be ironed?"
Zach: With a wicked, pleading gleam in  his eye "Yes."
Me:  "Well, shit Zach you could have told me this sooner than 15 minutes before you need to leave!!"
Zach: "I did, Mom.  Last night...you just must not have been paying attention."
Me:  "You most certainly did not tell me you needed to have a shirt ironed."  And I stomp off, in a huff, to go iron a shirt...yelling as I go "You will have to fix your own eggs.  I can't do everything!"

2.  I should never, ever be put in charge of ironing clothes.  Not only do I despise ironing, I truly, 100% suck at it!  As I grumbled and huffed over the ironing board I noticed, and not for the first time, that I put more wrinkles in clothes as I am ironing them then I can iron out.  I suck!

3.  Seriously, that man-child of mine is soooooo fricking lucky he's cute because he's a big, giant pain in the kiester!!  The twinkle in his warm, honey-brown eyes gets me every time.  I know I shouldn't cave the way I do but there are times when his charm and his sweetness mixed together with his puppy dog eyes causes me to do things for him I know I shouldn't....like drop everything to iron wrinkles into (I know it should say "out of" but it would be a lie!) a shirt 15 minutes before both he and I need to be out the door.  It's been that way since he was little, damn him!

So again, I offer my apologies to the mamas and their daughters out there who may, someday, become involved with my boys...especially Zach.  They are spoiled and I know it.  But luckily he (they) are cute!

Ohhhhhhhhh, for the love of my children...


Monday, May 7, 2012

The Floodgates Have Been Opened

OK, so I've been off for a while...literally and figuratively.  For a week I was off in Ireland and then for the following week I was just "off."  I had (and have) so much muck swirling and whirling in my brain that I couldn't get it out.  I couldn't force myself to figure out what to say and how to say.  I may go into the "muck" of the matter later but right now I'm just glad my creative juices are flowing again.  Over the next few days, I may have three or four smaller blogs just to get back into the swing of things ~ just to test the waters and let the floodgates trickle out what's been stored up in my brain for the past two weeks.

The opening of the floodgates all started yesterday...

Yesterday, I was at Kroger all by myself.  All of my boys were off fishing for the day.  They left at seven o'clock yesterday morning. I had no idea when to expect them back.  I had just dropped Claire at dance for her four and half hour practice so I did what any sane mama with hours of free time would do ~ I headed to the grocery store to stock up for the week.  (Yeah, like any sane mama wants to head for Kroger when she has spare hours to herself...but I never claimed I was sane.)

I walked up and down the aisles of the grocery store with purpose but not with a frenzied pace.  I didn't need to hurry, I had no one with me to bug me for this or that.  There was no one there with me to secretly pop things into the cart so I didn't need to keep the cart in near constant motion.  Although I didn't hurry, I didn't dilly dally either.  I wanted to get home and get on with something for me, something I wanted to do, so I finished my task at hand and went to the checkout counter.  I got my things bagged up, paid for and I headed out.

As I was walking out I got caught behind a young mother who had (what looked to be) her four year old daughter strapped in the seat of the cart.  The bagger was walking not too far behind chatting with a woman I assumed with the mother of the young mother.  They were parked right next to me and as I put my things in the back of the TRVLN ZU the bagger loaded their groceries into the back of their car.  The woman I assumed I was the grandmother asked me "How come it is you look so calm and collected?"  I responded with a broad grin "Because my three kids are off someplace else."  As I stepped into my the driver's seat I put the windows down and I could hear the grandmother telling the young mom about our brief exchange and then I heard the young mother say "UGH, God help me if I ever have three kids," and I have to say, I got a little offended.  Yes, I was happy to have some time off without my kiddos, for a little while, but I was looking forward to seeing their bright, shining faces when they all reappeared in the house.  They are not some big massive, burden (well, not all the time anyway) and I thoroughly enjoy each and every one of them...always ~ even when I'm exasperated I can still feel a smile tugging at the corners of my mouth because of them.

I guess, once I became a mom of more than two I joined some strange club where it seemed like it was OK for the morons out there to make comments to me for having to play zone defense instead of parent to kid coverage.  Shortly after Claire was born, I was walking up and down the aisles of Kroger (go figure this all goes down at the grocery store).  I had Claire in the Baby Bjorn, Lucas was strapped in the seat of the cart and Zach was on the bottom of the cart, belly down pretending to fly through the aisles of the grocery store.  As I was pulling groceries off of the shelf a woman approached me with a strange look on her face.  I assumed it was to croon over a brand new baby (Claire was less than few weeks old) but it was to deliver the first of many insults I have had for having more than the standard 2.2 kids.  She looked me in the eye and said "My GOD, that's a lot of kids!  Are they all yours??"  At the time I was so stunned I didn't know what to reply so I stammered out a "Why, yes. Yes,  they are all mine."  But as I walked away I sooooooo wanted to say, with sarcasm blazing in my voice, "Yes, they are all mine but all three have different fathers so it's really no big deal. And by the way Lady...mind your own effing business!"  But I didn't and I guess it's better that way ~ I didn't join her in the moron club that day.

Luckily, yesterday my filter remained in place (again!).  I didn't say a word to the young mother.  It's not my place.  And anything I said probably would have some off sounding like a lecture from me but hopefully, someday she'll understand and rein in her comments just a little. But even if she does, I'm sure there will be others out there who will continue on with strange and moronic comments.  The morons will always be out there but I figure if more and more of us are united in staying true to the kindergarten rule of "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" it will be better, right??

So this blog turned out to be a little longer than I thought...maybe the floodgates are not going to trickle out my stored up thoughts little by little.  I think they might just fly open and let everything come bursting out....for the love of my children.