Not a “Kindergarten Mom” post.

I mean, just ♡♡♡♡

As Jr’s start date for Kindergarten looms ever-closer, friends and family and fellow moms have sent me links to many “open letter” type articles and blog posts…

Posts with titles like “On your first day of Kindergarten,”  and  “To my baby as she goes to school” and “The day my youngest started Kindergarten” (none of these are exact, but you get my drift, yes?)

In the past I have read these offerings fondly, I have even sent them on occasion as parents who have blazed the trail before me sent their respective littles off to Kindy and beyond.

I am here to tell you that I love each and every one of you who have sent those pieces… and I love and respect those who have so eloquently written them.

But people, I can’t read that shit right now.

Straight up, yo –  I am like, barely hanging on by the grace of God and Chardonnay and  a substantially unhealthy decent amount of denial.

It brings “I can’t even” to a new level.

Monday Jr started his last week of Pre-k at the day care center he has attended since he was 1.  I cried my “waterproof” mascara off  TWICE before 9 a.m. that morning. (I haven’t bothered trying to put it back on since.)

I woke up at 3 a.m. today, and I went into his room and turned on his soother and just sat in the glow watching him sleep.  (How much would that mess him up if I was THISCLOSE to his little face and he happened to wake up!? Screw saving for college, we should save for therapy.)
And this is just me, left to MY OWN thoughts on the subject, which are always scattered and fragmented and not all organized and beautiful and all of the things that the authors who wrote those posts and articles offer up so amazingly well.

If I read just one of those heartfelt examples, I have zero doubt that I would be reduced to a simpering, sobbing puddle of mom who runs to find Jr and tackle him in a heap of smother-hug on the floor, and NEVER gets my mess of a self up again, forevermore.

Because I think part of what is (barely) keeping me from losing it just now is that I kind of CAN’T put all of this into words….

I look at him this week and I see the eyes that have glanced curiously back at me, color matching my own perfectly, since minutes after he was born.  I hear echoes of his in-utero heartbeat on my stork radio monitor,  feel the cozy calm of his nursery enveloping us with the city bustling  below our beloved highrise “treehouse,” his first home. I smell his tiny baby lavender bath wash, taste every tear I have cried in fear and frustration and joy for him- all in an instant.

I see also in those eyes his entire future. The first inklings of his hopes and his dreams.  The challenges he will face, the obstacles he will overcome…. The love and the loss and the joy and the pain and the terrifying, beautiful BOUNDLESS promise that lives in that 40 lbs of human whirlwind.

I see it all.  And  I lose my words.

And I think it is saving me to know that for now.

I swear I will start a Pintrest board for all of those (no doubt awesome) posts, and I will read them around Halloween, when all of this is normal and routine and I can be only a semi hot mess mildly teary and slightly nostalgic about the next few weeks.

Right now it is way,  WAY too much.   Right now words aren’t tools, they are weapons coming at my tender mom-heart.

There is room in my little corner if you want to join me for denial, prayer, and Chardonnay, my fellow Kindy moms…..

No Kindergarten mom articles allowed though….  We don’t have enough tissues or box wine for that shit.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Mom life, musing

My White Whale.

This.

This, my good readers, is a Big Green Egg.

Actually – this is THE MR’S Big Green Egg – a Christmas present from Dr Sissy’s husband, Dr BIL, who has a serious Grill-mance going on with his own BGE (those in the know abbreviate it… because that is how cool they are.  I am probably not.)

Annywayyyy.

I confess it took us 5 months a hot second to get up the nerve to tackle assembling the thing, but all of the other ILs that had received one in Dr BIL’s frenzy of  BGE gifting assured us that it was easy to do, and then we would instantly want to use it to cook ALL THE THINGS.  (I use “we” like a Royal We here, referring to me… because while The Mr tells many tales of his past outdoor cooking prowess, he has not demonstrated it to me in our 15 years together.  So long live Queen Keri, may WE ever grill on and on.)

Not going to lie – we fucked up the assembly in kind of the biggest way you can fuck it up.  (This time the “we’ actually means The Mr, but you know… whatever.)

BUT we got the severe underbite fixed eventually (not even kidding, it is like having a needy child,) and I was pressured to ready to get to smoking.

Here is the thing.  In my past four years of being VERY Reluctantly Suburban,  never have I EVER been so reluctant about anything as I was about this damn Egg.

In all my English Lit Degree nerdery, immediately named it Moby Dick…  it was my White Whale.

As it turns out, I am not great with fire.

No wait….that isn’t really it.

I am beyond unreasonably completely ginormously terrified of fire.  (Remember the Lantern Fest?  Yeah.)

See that pretty little Grill next to the White Whale?

That’s my sweet baby grill – the Charbroil Patio Bistro.  Hello lovely.    The Patio Bistro is PERFECT for highrise living – it is electric, but it isn’t one of those Foreman grill/glorified panini press/ why bother situations… it has an open grill grate positioned over basically an oven heating element.  GENIUS!!

I cook up a storm on that sucker.  And on my  flat top electric stove (So even! So clean! So safe!)

Then I settle in to watch the flames dance in my fire pit that burns giant cans of Sterno.

For reals… Keri no likey the fire.

I was the only girl scout in Troop 1062 to NOT get her fire badge.  In culinary school I LOATHED the gas stoves that everyone else adored. I have been perfectly happy keeping the Patio Bistro cooking along for the past 4 years, though we are now FAR from our 6th story patio and I could switch to something different.

No. Fire. No.

Except here is this damn egg.  And I have to fill it full of this fancy lump charcoal and light it on fire and get it going really well…  on my  back patio. ON PURPOSE.

There were some stops and starts, people.  And day drinking to calm my nerves (except then I was like “OH SHIT, now my judgement is compromised… am I fit to tend the flame!?)

And many, many, many, MANY calls to Dr BIL for advice, reassurance, moral support, (and even for drink recipes… because seriously, needed the booze. )

So I filled up the bottom with the charcoal and placed the little starter blocks around the pile, said a prayer and lit those puppies up.

Now it IS called a smoker…  so I shouldn’t have been so surprised.  But it was SMOKING LIKE HELLFIRE as it got going.   Like Whoa.  Like how did the neighbors not think the back of The Casa was en fuego, yo?

So I thought it was going good enough, and the smoke and the OPEN FLAMES were making me pretty nervous, so I set the plate set down inside over the  flaming situation, and then shut the lid and said a prayer (Ok, there was pretty much continuous prayer after I saw all that damn smoke.)

I threw open the bottom vent as wide as it would go, and (after putting the whole situation out from lack of air – stupid high altitude,) I pulled the daisy wheel off the top completely, (note how I use BGE terms comfortably now, like Elle Woods and legal jargon, amirite?)

EVENTUALLY, after panicking and cutting the airflow off several times resulting in having to relight, I got it to a good even temp and tossed on some Brisket and Ribs.

So. Much. Pressure.

I had The Mr… I also had the Mr’s parents.  That is a WHOLE mess of people from Texas to be around if you jack up your cook, yo.

ANDPLUSALSO, there are all of these horror stories on the interwebs about people who open their Egg too fast and cause a rocket like flame up that takes every hair on the top half of their bodies or whatever, and you know, there’s that whole “ SCARED SHITLESS OF FIRE” thing I have going on, so no pressure there, RIGHT!?

But I managed not to burn the house down, and also to actually keep the thing lit (after a few false starts due to my chicken shit nature,) and dinner that night was good.

So good, actually.

BUT –  I don’t feel the need to fire up the White Whale BGE every day and night…

The  guys of the ‘hood are all uber excited about it, so maybe I can get The Mr  hooked on smokin’ in the future, eh?

In the meantime, I would tell you not to call the fire department if you see a TON of smoke rolling up from the back of our house…  but we have some hot fire men, yo. 

So, better safe than sorry… Right?

Leave a comment

Filed under musing

The Heart Attack That Wasn’t

Getting ready for the fireworks- and outside of my safety zone – for this awesome kiddo. And.for myself.

Last Wednesday morning, one week ago today, was really nothing special at all.  I got myself and Jr up and ready and out the door, lingered over some time with my parents when I dropped the kiddo off to spend the day with them, and headed into the office since there were some visitors from the main office in town and it is always nice to have some “face time” with long-distance colleagues.

4 hours later I was being carted out on a (extraordinarily tall) stretcher to an ambulance waiting in the parking lot.  (Seriously – I had no idea you were so high up on those things… are they all so freakin’ high!?)   Minutes before that, I was 100% convinced that I was having a heart attack, had waited too long to act, and was going to die in my office waiting for the paramedics only a few minutes away.

Soooo, none of that was true. Thank God.

What did happen?  I can’t be sure yet – my primary care doc and neurologist are still ordering up tests to check things like hormone levels (getting old is sure fun, isn’t it) and look for any changes on MRIs (to rule out any new lesions that might indicate a change in disease course for my M.S.)  We shall see what the results are when the dust settles.

But if I had to guess, hindsight being 20/20?

Anxiety Attack.

Horrible, no-good, very bad, worse and different than I have ever experienced, Anxiety Attack.

Hello darkness, my old friend.

Or should I say you dirty unwelcome bitch.

I don’t talk about my long history with Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder here very often.  Or at least not seriously.  I joke about having refilled my Ativan script for an upcoming flight, I hint about my extra worry and helicopter parenting.  I poke fun and I minimize and brush by it without really talking much at all.

Talking about it makes me worry that I might panic from talking about it.

That’s the thing.  Once it starts, it is a horrible, vicious, unending loop.  It feeds on fear of itself.

And this time was different.  I can ALWAYS pinpoint a cause, no matter how little or unreasonable.  I always know what caused an attack. Because of that I can head many off at the pass by taking precautions or making extra preparations before a particular activity, (or, worst case, by not doing it at all, which sucks but doesn’t happen often any more.)  But not this time.  There was no warning.  There was no trigger.  It felt SO MUCH WORSE than anything I had ever experienced before.   My whole body tensed;  heart racing, feeling like it was being squeezed by something;  chest pains; dizziness…

Something awful was clearly happening to me.

In my mind I know that statement is no less true because it wasn’t a heart attack.  I remind myself that constantly.  But anxiety is cruel in other ways too – it hides inside of you, it is difficult for others to see and to understand.  It builds on the shame of each “why don’t you just calm down/snap out of it/stop worrying/choose differently” look and comment,  well-meaning or otherwise.  Because in your heart you are asking that too.  “Why can’t I just calm down?” “Why can’t I just enjoy this activity like others do?”  “Why do I have to plan and overthink and worry?” “Why can I not be free of this?”  “WHY?”

My 20s were a blur of panic.  Sometimes as an under-riding current of general anxiety, others as months of crippling waves of panic leaving me trapped by worry and fear, never venturing out of my walkable urban neighborhood.  Shortly after I got married my mom made a last desperate plea for me to get help.  I didn’t want the weight of the anchor that my panic and anxiety was to prevent the journey my new husband and I had just started together in our marriage and so I agreed.

Almost immediately I wished I had reached out long before – and little by little, my world grew again.

This week – in the hours and days since the heart attack that wasn’t, I have gone about making follow up appointments and tracking referrals and insurance claims and all of the business of tying up loose ends that happens after an ER visit.  But I have been watchful, waiting guardedly for a hint that the next one is coming.

This time I will fight, clawing to keep every inch I have gained back, every experience I have won back over from terror to ease…  I know that there are setbacks, and that is fine.  But I refuse to accept a spiral.  I will deny shame a place in the battle this time, and I will be am being proactive.

This time panic, you can’t come for me.  This time I am coming for you.

 

————————————————————–

If you are experiencing Anxiety or Panic Attacks – PLEASE reach out.  Your doctor is a great initial resource, there amazing groups full of supportive people in many areas and even online.  It took me years – heed my mother’s advice now and reach out. (I didn’t know then what I know now.  My mother is always right.)

6 Comments

Filed under Helpful, Mom life

Dat Workin’ Mom Lyfe. Just Sayin’.

I spent 4 long days traveling for business last week, a topic that I have rambled shamelessly on about touched on briefly in the past. (You can read about all the deodorant failing, seat companion farting, 40000 ft cocktailing magic here, should you be so inclined.)

It has its positives and negatives, for sure.  I love my team. I love my boss.  I dare say I even love getting to experience Boston.

But I HATE leaving Jr.  Like HAAATTTEEE it.

So after 4 long days away, I was SO excited to see my offspring – imagining all of the cuddles we would share as he drifted off to sleep on my lap, not wanting to let me go for even one second after being without me for so long.

image

Playing with the crab hat I brought him, shortly before becoming a different kind of crab.

All of that lasted exactly 2 minutes “in real life.”

Then he decided he wasn’t tired, wanted to rip his room apart instead, and spent the next 2 hours yelling through his door how mean I was, and that I should go back to Boston.

Queue the horrific mom guilt with a side of Chardonnay and a few tears.

Mom life is HARD, yo.

Just sayin’

Leave a comment

Filed under Just Sayin'

Corn Dog Shit Show

image

Just so we are clear, breading separation of this level = no longer edible to 5 year old

Being the ginormous food hog foodie that I am, I have always been very proud of the wide variety of food that Jr enjoys.

Until recently, that is.

If 4 years old was “the age of the questionable decision” (and oh, how it was,) then 5 is turning out to be “the age of the shrinking palate.”

Jr’s newest meal time battle cry has become “I don’t like that anymore.”

And people, let me tell you right now – mama ain’t down with it one damn bit.

After Jr tried to declare that carrots and broccoli (our last two approved true veggies) were now on his “do not eat list,” I went so far as to implement a “if you liked it when you were 3, you can’t unlike it now!” (Sorry, dude, but if 3 year old you would easily have eaten it, 5 year old you has to eat it too.  Because hashtag momlogic.)

Even with my MOTY rule in place, dinner time is substantially more hellish  eventful than it used to be.

Case in point, last night’s dinner… or as I immediately  took to calling it “The Corn Dog Shit Show.”

I gave Jr a prompt Heisman pose on his attempt to decide that he no longer liked the Morning Star Farms Corn Dogs that he loved as a 4 year old – because evidently vegan junk food is the hill that this mama decided was worth dying on.  Go figure.

Anyway, it worked and the kid decided that they were not only cleared for serving again, but actually his new-again favorite thing ever.  So for dinner last night when I offered a Corn dog instead of  the low carb Cheeseburger casserole thingy that The Mr. and I were having, his agreement was a level 2000 on a scale of 1-10.

Perfect, awesome, fantastic.  1 corndog, some grapes, and a yogurt tube (Simply Yo-plait ONLY, as he has decided that the Horizons tubes no longer meet his refined tastes,) coming up.

Except I wasn’t watching…. And if you overcook a vegan corndog, it blows up.

:::pause to de-corndog microwave:::

Round two is a success, and after a play session with the neighbor kid and a bike ride with dad, he was HUNGRY!

A corndog requires a 5-7 minute cooling time, which can be sped up by sticking the cooked dog back into the freezer. Skip this step and Jr’s delicious dinner becomes a molten mass of meat substitute lying in wait to scorch the taste buds off my offspring’s tender tongue.

All steps accomplished and we all sit down to din.

A third of the way through said perfectly cooled corndog, Jr decides to attempt to remove it from the stick, and half a blink later, it is on the floor, Potter has promptly wolfed it down, and Jr is has that pre-tantrum quiver in his lip.

RED ALERT!!!

I distract him with the yogurt tube and launch into emergency corndog prep procedure, cooking for 10 seconds, checking the temp, and going again – so as to produce a replacement that will be cool enough to eat PDQ, but not still a veggie-product popsicle in the center.

Just as the last grape goes into Jr’s mouth,  I sidle up beside him and hold out my microwaved creation, at the perfect temperature for instant ingestion.  Mom achievement unlocked.

The pride I took in this victory was far greater than any I ever felt in a kitchen – even when I made perfect puff pastry from scratch to ace my dreaded baking exam in culinary school.

We also had a quick lesson in pointing our corndog DOWN toward the plate if we are shoving it off of the stick, instead of pointing it up and firing it off of the stick like a cornbread-wrapped pop-bottle rocket.

One mealtime battle fought and won….  One food saved from 5 year old snubbery.   (Is that a word?  I am making it one.  I am the MF-ing corndog god… I can do that.)

1 Comment

Filed under Mom life, musing