Tag Archives: parents

41 vs 21.

41.  Today I (and my super awesome twin, Dr. Sissy,) turn 41.

Wait…..  Whut?

Forty FREAKING one.

One of my asshole acquaintances  younger friends said I am just celebrating the 20th anniversary of my 21st birthday.

Oh my damn.

It’s  been 20 years since my 21st birthday.

And hey!  Ya know what – when I think about it like that, maybe I should feel pretty damn good about things…  I have figured a thing or two out (ok, maybe just the one,) in the 20 years that have passed since Dr Sissy and I sampled every sketchy-ass “birthday shot” that the fine establishments of Boulder had to offer before taking turns holding each other’s hair back at different times over the next two days. (#wondertwinpowers)

That got me to thinking, how IS 21 different than 41?  Sometimes I feel EXACTLY like the girl who stood on the bar to kiss the buffalo with her sister on her 21st birthday, and not a day older…. and sometimes I am possessed by a cranky old lady barking at my husband to plug in my heating pad because I slept wrong the night before and “OY! MY BACK!”

What gives!?

Even at 41, I still hear the call of the Taco Bell drive thru when I have a shitty day at work… “Come Keri… get in line Keri… Nachos Bell Grande are the answer Keri.  And a GIANT Mountain Dew.”

But they aren’t the answer…  unless the question is “what is going to give you heartburn and make your damn pants not fit over your ass?”  And people – let’s acknowledge that is NEVER the question.  (I love you Taco Bell…. 4eva.  But you do me so, SO wrong.)

41 year old Keri WANTS to slam endless quantities of coffee drinks, all day and night, like her 21 year old self did.  21 year old Keri practically lived at THE BEST coffee shop EVER (I also love you 4eva, Paris on the Platte, RIP,) working there in the early mornings, and then camping out on a stool at the bar all evening long while Dr Sissy worked her shifts. Then heading back to the single gal condo and sleeping peacefully, NBD.  41 year old Keri just told her coworker today that she has to “watch her caffeine  any time after noon because otherwise I will be up all night.”  What, the actual F**k, universe?  How does that happen?  Now that I am a wife and a mom and have more on my plate than ever – NOW I have to limit my intake of the sweet nectar of energy and decency that is coffee, or risk being up watching Copper Skillet infomercials during the few hours my schedule actually allows me to sleep?  Damn you, 41.

21 year old Keri was ensconced in her perfect, walkable urban ‘hood, living on delicious (horrible) Big Bites and Hostess cupcakes, going to shows and  showing off fresh ink while downing house shots at PS lounge….

Remembering all of that is amazing.  But not the whole story. Nope… not at all.

21 year old Keri was  freshly mugged, flat broke, back and forth dating two guys- neither of whom was right for her,  and couldn’t get the air pockets in her bread to even out in culinary school (which is “rustic” now, but was “wrong” back then.) She was angry and lost and a little lonely.

I was 21 when I was diagnosed with MS.   (Talk about angry and lost… whoa nelly.)

21 year old Keri had some shit going on.    21 year old Keri walked through fire.

21 was actually a major pivot for me – and it had nothing to do with the ability to order  a drink.

And the things that happened that year set me on the path toward where I sit writing this now,  in my dimly lit kitchen,  about to get up and replace the blankets my son has no doubt kicked off, and fill the dog’s water, and kiss The Mr goodnight as he sleeps…  it was 21 that set it all in motion, really.

Andplusalso,  if you look hard enough, the best parts of that young woman are still right here, along with 20 years of hard fought understanding that have come along since then.  21 year old Keri buzzed around in her Jeep with the windows down and the music up. 41 year old Keri does the same. 21 year old Keri loved lingering and laughing over long tex-mex meals with her family,  and that is exactly how 41 year old Keri is celebrating her birthday this evening.

21 year old Keri made bad jokes when she was nervous (and when she was not,) enjoyed looking at the mountains way more than spending time in them, cried whenever she heard Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Colorado Christmas,” missed her twin sister living(part time) in Indy like crazy,  and was so damn grateful for every step she took, every sight she saw… every awful, wonderful perfect moment she got….

And you know what?  Ditto all of that for 41 year old Keri.

So maybe my not-so-jerky friend was right – happy 20th anniversary of my 21st birthday indeed.

(And to you too, Dr Sissy –  without you I am only half an egg.  muah.)

 

 

 

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Sick Mom Walking

Join me as I accept my fate people.  I am 3- 5 days out from a rip-roaring stomach virus incident.  MAX.

How do I know this, you ask?

Because Monday afternoon, as I loaded Jr into his car seat after school he looked extra pooped out… he yawned a GINORMOUS yawn, and  informed me his tummy hurt “all day.”

Two hours later I was in the thick of the battle zone of a tiny person’s barf, and fever, and lethargy, and all that is parenting a child with a stomach virus.

I had sent up the flares, battened down the hatches, busted out the Lysol and pedialyte and readied him and I for the coming darkness, and the long, LONG night it would bring.

I feel it is prudent to mention, at this juncture, that my only back up going into all of this was Binky the Wonder dog….  The Mr departed that morning on one of his VERY infrequent business trips, and my parents were deep in the heart of Texas with vague plans to return sometime midweek.

To be honest having The Mr out of the way was a blessing – at the slightest hint of sickness in the house, he drops into some sort of pre-emptive man-cold mode, wherein he spends copious amounts of time panicking about catching the illness and determines he should just start  behaving as if it has already overtaken him.  Not needed or welcome when I have an active barfer in the casa.

As for Binky?  Well… he is good company, but he won’t crap in the yard which leaves me wheeling the tiny barfing human around the neighborhood bike paths in a wagon while begging him to “barf in the bag if you have to barf, buddy.”  So yeah.

It was a typical stomach bug – quick and dirty, affording me many “opportunities” to do LOTS of loads of laundry at inopportune times.

As an unintended bonus, when  The Mr’s parents arrive this weekend for their annual visit for Jr’s birthday, they will find a house that has been disinfected to the point that you could probably perform surgery on any surface of your choosing.  There is not one damn thing I haven’t scrubbed, laundered, sprayed, or otherwise decontaminated at this point.

Jr’s recovery set in as quickly as the illness had – and by Tuesday afternoon he was climbing the walls and jamming along to “Sing”  -which I had rented in an attempt to keep him occupied during a conference call. ( A plan that backfired when our internet and cable went down for a few hours in the middle of the day because the universe believes that I work best with a “challenge” evidently.)

But here’s the thing, and “primary parents”  tell me if you don’t feel me here:  I KNOW that shit is coming for me….

You can drink all the grape juice and diffuse all the frigging essential oils and partake in all the shameless bargaining prayer (No? Just me?) that you want to when these things hit your kids…

But you are UP. IN. IT.

You cannot tell me that your chances of ending up infected with that funk are not EXTRA HIGH when you are elbows deep in “the bucket” trying to clean it out from the last use when your kid walks up and yaks into it again (usually with the damn toilet RIGHT NEXT TO WHERE YOU ARE STANDING, WHY GOD WHY!?)  Or when said adorable germ carrier snuggles down in bed for story time, then unleashes a solid minute long combo of sneezing/dry heaving/WTF else is that noise even IN YOUR FACE before falling dead asleep while you try to hold your breath and run out to create a Lysol smoke screen to kill that shit.

There is not enough Purell on the PLANET, friends.   It’s a damn crap shoot at that point… it is cosmic forces…

I am in “the window.”

That period of days after the virus has departed your child where you wait to see if you too, will drop.

Where anything  you eat has that moment of “will this burn coming back up if tonight is the night?” fear every time you make a meal selection.

Where hoping that if you choke on your water during that video conference, it won’t lead to a power barf into your brand new super cute home office trashcan while your coworkers watch.

Nothing can help me now, people….  Only time will tell my fate.

(How many of you reached for the Lysol just reading this?  I know I would.)

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Come back, nap.

This is coffee.  Coffee took the place of Nap.  I liked Nap better.

I miss naps.

Like, I really EFFING miss naps.

Naps are just not part of my universe at this point, and honestly?  There is a nap-shaped hole in Keri’s heart.

In my past I was an EPIC napper.  A napper for the ages.  A napper on a competitive scale (but I didn’t go pro, because I didn’t want to risk losing my ability to compete in the nap Olympics, I guess.)

Napping has long been a favorite ritual of mine – waaaaaay back into the days of Keri-yore. (Yep, I just said that – it’s a thing now.)

When I was in middle school, we had the Ahhhh-mazingly ugly Blue Flowered Sofa in our living room.  It was something special, for sure.  The arm rests were large and rolled, and fit perfectly in the crook of your neck when you laid down on it.  So I did. Lay down on it, I mean.  Pretty much every day after school until my mom got home and woke me up, I would nap.  (I freaking miss you, Blue Flowered Sofa.)

In high school and college power naps were a MUST, since I was NOT making responsible choices about bedtimes AT ALL (I still kinda don’t.)

The months leading up to and directly following my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis were one big blur of nap: sometimes inadvertent (falling asleep on the keyboard at work, a lot, every damn day, not knowing why I was so tired,) and on purpose (leaving my steroid infusion appointments, going directly to my parents’ office and eating a giant bag of fast food before sleeping the whole afternoon on my dad’s office floor.)  MS makes you tired.  Crazy tired.  But napping was also a way to hide, to postpone processing, and to shut down from fear and sadness for a while.

Slowly that fog did lift, and I reclaimed the concept of nap-as-recreation.   My favorite hobby.

As I settled into married life and became a mom to the cutest, fuzziest, bestest napping dog EVER, the Sunday afternoon marathon nap was solidified as a permanently scheduled calendar item for Binky-the-wonder-dog and me.   This was SERIOUS business – in the bedroom, curtains drawn, under the covers, see ya in a few hours for dinner, BIG TIME NAPPING.  When I was pregnant it became pretty much the whole day.

And then along came Jr….

The early days were ok, a bit foggy at first, but then we settled in and I would nap when he napped, at least sometimes.

But then he got older. Naps dropped to one a day, and I found I had to get things done at that time.  Then naps – sweet sweet naps – were gone completely.

Last Sunday I was dozing a bit while he colored on his latest superhero creation and it hit me, a wave of nostalgic, wistful longing.  MY NAPS!! My precious naps….  They have no place now.

And I still stay up way too late – now grabbing a little time for myself or writing or prepping for the next day of life for the family….  And we just go and we go and we go.

I am so freakin’ tired.

Oh naps…. I think I miss you most of all.

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One of the crowd.

Well, we are in week 2 of Jr’s kindergarten adventure and we have all managed to get where we need to be with all of the crap we need to have, including pants (no small victory,) in a timely fashion every day.

So I guess we are all going to survive the switch, (but reading of any heartfelt ruminations is still on hold until further notice, TYVM.)

I did come to a semi-jarring realization yesterday, not about Jr, but about my own role in this whole daily drop off scenario.

Years ago I made a vow — through gritted teeth with narrowed, shade-throwing eyes — to the baseball-capped, yoga-pants clad, latte-toting super-star suburban mommas piloting their perfectly organized MUVs in and out of the preschool parking lot – and to myself.

I wasn’t going out like that.  See, I proclaimed it in my very first post.   “Walk among them, don’t become them.”  (Thank you Suburgatory, for the best line ever.)

Look, we can pretty much agree that I lost my “cynical Keri” street cred a ways back now… probably around the time I started skipping through the local café giving everybody the winky finger guns and trying to hug an entire town.

winky jesus

Winky Jesus loves you, and so do I, Hometown.

But what I saw yesterday, when I glanced at my reflection in a window of the school while standing on the kindy playground, made me gasp audibly:

Note look of horrified realization.

Oh.

My.

Damn.

That is legit the ACTUAL textbook image of what I had described as being “them”  just a few years ago.  AND I QUOTE, “… yoga pants and performance fleece and pony-tails sticking out of baseball caps; with perfectly lined eyes…”

(Well, I suck at eye make up so that part is NEVER going to be me, but  still… I mean, come on.)

Whoa.

WHHHOOOAAAAAA.

Holy athleisure wear, Batman.  I was the creature I feared all along.

Even more fascinating – I totally get it now. Momming of school-aged kiddos is intense, yo.  Jr’s start time is a full hour earlier than I used to drop him off at his previous daycare/school.  Two minutes late? Too bad. Your kid is tardy, thanks a lot, Mrs NOT Mother of the Year.   That early ass roll-out time means that I have kissed my pre-dawn TV workouts buh-bye; we are already in full-on morning prep mode at that time of day now.  AND GUESS WHAT – if I put on the clothes when I get up, then I actually get a workout in right after I bid Jr adieu in the kindy yard and low-speed it out of the school zone. If I am wearing something else?  Nope, I end up putting off the putting-on of workout wear, and it just never happens.

ANDPLUSALSO – there are ample pockets for my stuff, it is toasty if the morning is cool, and if I notice a smudge of WTF on Jr’s face right as we get a foot on the playground, I don’t have to worry about jacking up work wear using my sleeve as a face wipe. (Yup, I said it.)

It’s like wearing a suit of mom armor.  I can’t hide it – I am converted, and I hadn’t even noticed the change.

The truth can hurt, Keri.

But it can also set you free.

:::raising giant Starbucks cup :::

Here’s to being “one of them.”

one of us

 

 

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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.

 

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