Tag Archives: parents

overwhelmed.

I can’t remember the last time all the flags weren’t at half-staff.

This is not at all what I wanted to write today – not at all anything I want to have to say.

But it is true.  It struck me, ironically, on the MORNING of February 14th as I drove past our area’s city and county government buildings, and then also by 2 schools.   The flags were half-raised, and I thought to myself that I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen a flag raised to the top of a pole.

We are a nation always in mourning, it seems.  And within a few hours of my trip through town, our mourning would be renewed.

Maybe “compounded” would be a better word than “renewed,” as it seems now to come not in waves that ebb and flow, but instead in quick hailing succession that floods our collective soul in an endless, bottomless ocean.

The deluge is crushing.  It overwhelms.

That is the truest word I have.  It overwhelms me.

Hearing and speaking the truth that in 2018 there have been so many shootings AT SCHOOLS in our country overwhelms me. (Evidently we have reached a place where we also have to split hairs over WHAT TYPE of gun use on a school campus actually qualifies as a “school shooting,” which overwhelms me.)

Seeing my 6 year old not-so-much scared anymore as angry and indignant – hearing him tell me that someone should fix it because “Spiderman says that with great power comes great responsibility” and even he, AT fucking SIX YEARS OLD knows we are falling down on the damn job as country overwhelms me.

Coming to grips every second of every school day from the time  I pull into the tuck and roll hug and go circle and watch him walk toward the school – a little life I have the sworn universal directive to protect with every fiber of my being – that in spite of all his amazing teachers and administrators do, something beyond horrific may happen to him because that is now-more-than-EVER-before a possible truth cripplingly, awfully, and completely overwhelms me.

It makes it hard to leave his sweet, sleeping self in bed each night after our chapter of Harry Potter, so I lay in the half-dark of his superhero night light, watching him so quiet and calm and begging every power in the universe to protect him.

It steals my thoughts during business calls – leaving me wondering what he and his sweet little classmates are thinking and feeling and doing during their days –if they are safe physically, but also if any hearts are hurting, or feelings are ignored….

Or if any of the multitudes of intricacies that make up the growing little people in his class and his school are maybe going quietly unnoticed or being harmed  – and what can I do, and what can we as community do, and a country, and why are we not talking about it, and WHY THE FUCK ARE WE NOT ALL SHOUTING ABOUT IT EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL OUR KIDS DAMNIT WHY WHY WHY!?

So yeah.  I am overwhelmed.

Scared, and angry, and sad, and confused, and desperate, and mortified, and tired, and brokenhearted, and in pain, and incensed, grieving, and raging, and lost…

Overwhelmed.

But fighting.  For him, and for always…Fighting like hell.

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Gold Status Achived

Oh Hai cuties.

peg and steve

So, 50 years ago today , these two adorable, amazing, fabulous, fantastic folks tied the knot.

At an age when most people are still at the HEIGHT of teenaged dumbassery -that is totally a word-  they were looking at each other over a wedding license and seeing the future of a family.

I know that “times were different” then, and it would be easy to use that reasoning when thinking about them getting married at 18 and just chalk it up to “different times.”  I think that through the years, growing up, my sister and I have done that in our minds – painting a bit of a simplified, if not idealized, version of our parents’ love story in our heads.

But that’s not really it.   Before they were Mom and Dad, or Grandma and Grandpa, they were Peg and Steve….  There was first dates and butterflies and going steady and parental opinions and all the ups and downs of high school dating.

And also, there were two kids from two families, each with a history that would help shape their decisions regarding the future.   They may have been young, but their marriage was not something either of them entered into naively.   Not one bit.

I watch them together now – and I marvel at the connection.  They are two complete and separate people, but for the past 50 years they have shared the timeline of one life.  We have watched them cheer each other on, defend each other, sacrifice for each other, draw close to each other in times of sadness, or fright, or pain…   Their relationship formed the foundation of how our family would treat each other, and those we found connection with, in this world.   Has it been tested?  Well –  they had twin daughters… who were teenagers for a time… AND ONE OF THEM WAS ME.  Sooooo, yeah.

It has been tested.

But that foundation of our family – that always has been, and is now, and ever will be long after all of us have come and gone and generations have come to take our places – remains.  Somehow, under the weight of each new generation it supports, it only gets stronger.

So today I want to say thank you to my mom and dad.  50 years ago you made a brave choice to start a life together – and set in motion the story of all of us.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY – Maude and Daddy (Mom and Daddy, Nene/Nana and Pop, Steve and Peg)

We all love you so.

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The most wonderful (TV) time of the year?

Old faithful, spending retirement in the corner of my home office.

So  here we are sliding down the back side of Fall, with the season of holidays picking up steam.

Or as I always thought of it when I was little “the season of the holiday TV cartoon special.”

I freaking LOVE ME some holiday cartoons.   If you animate it, Keri is HERE. FOR. IT.

And don’t get me wrong – Jr is totes here for it too…

But it’s just… well…  Different.

This year when I fired up It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,  (onDemand, natch,) he was at least one foot in the “meh” zone about the whole thing.

I taped TONS of Halloween/fall episodes of some of his absolute fave cartoons, and I was more excited than he was for the most part.

That last sentence?   Therein lies the rub if you really look at it – I said “taped”….  People don’t “tape” shit anymore Keri, ffs.  You record it.  Because it’s NOT on tape.  But really, you don’t even do that.

You pull it up on Netflix, or Amazon or onDemand (like my Charlie Brown example,) or WHATEVER platform you dig, and you do it any damn time you want.

It’s not special.  It’s just normal.  And it’s bummin’ me out a little bit.

When Dr. Sissy and I were tiny twins, holiday cartoon specials were a big deal.  Like CAPITAL “B” CAPITAL “D” Big Deal, yo.

If The Great Pumpkin was coming, or The Grinch was going to steal Christmas on TV that night, preparations were made in advance at our house.  Sometimes it meant we got to pick something special to eat for dinner  – like my high holy culinary grail of kiddo- Keri-coveted treat dinners: The Swanson’s  Fried Chicken TV Dinner (dear God Keri, stop talking and delete this embarrassment…  but NO, I push on.)

Even if it was just hot dogs and blue box mac and cheese, it ALWAYS meant we got to eat in front of the TV that evening, which was rare.  We had two TVs in the house, in a VERY technical sense of that count. One normal “modern” television, and one that was O.L.D.

Holiday special nights usually meant that we fired up the O.L.D. set at least a half hour before said special started, so THE TUBE HAD TIME TO WARM UP (I shit you not, kids, this was a thing back then.)

Did I mention it was a black and white set?

See, now this is making Keri sound older than she actually is –  we were well out of the B/W TV set era by the time all of this was going down, but the set was in the room right off of our kitchen, and chances are daddy was down stairs watching football on the TV in the family room (or anything other than cartoons, because he was not the adult fan that his daughter is today,) so we fired up old faithful,  carefully set our metal chicken dinner containers onto our TV trays,  and waited for the picture to fade in.

Sure, as we got a bit older and a VCR that we could set to record (which was a bitch, BTW,) came into our lives, we could’ve taped the shows (and I mean actually taped here, folks,) but we didn’t.

We checked the TV Guide (that was an insert in the newspaper each week that listed what was on – before we had 9 billion channels and an interactive guide,) we adjusted the foil on the bunny ear antenna, and we got excited.

And if we missed it, then it was just too bad.  Life lesson learned.

If we missed the Great Pumpkin, we were that much more careful to make sure that we were in front of that TV when Snoopy started popping popcorn and flinging pretzels around that ping pong table at Thanksgiving.

It. Was. Special.  If you missed it, it was gone for a year.

Now?

Now it’s meh.  Because chances are mom can find it on her phone if you are getting rambunctious in the car or something.

Now your biggest fear isn’t that the old black and white console set will finally blow a tube and not warm up – it is the horror of the Grandparents’ inferior WiFi that might force you onto your mom’s work hotspot.

Sigh.

But I am NOT sinking into modern-day holiday special ennui without a fight, people.  Oh no no NO.

I am going to throw the picnic blanket on the floor, lay out a spread of kid friendly food that would make any tiny tummy growl in anticipation,  and fire up all the specials in the coming months.

ALL. THE. SPECIALS.

And this season, when the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes,  I am going to do my level best to make sure that Jr’s does too.

I may even get myself a TV Dinner.

(yes I know they don’t call them that anymore, shut up you are ruining it.)

Happy viewing, everyone.

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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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