Thursday, May 8, 2014

"What happened to Chicken Nugget Mama?" or "Where the hell have I been the last 2 years?"

Hi there! I've been gone awhile. Just logged back on and realized it's actually been a LONG while - much longer than I thought. Why, you may ask? Did I leave blogging to write a best-selling novel? Did I win the lottery and move to a tropical island to live out my life in a constant state of zen? Did my big mouth and opinionated, obstinate personality finally get me punched, resulting in a serious concussion and a long battle with temporary amnesia? None of the above. But, things got a little hairy there for a bit. I was feeling really negative, and I was getting sick of the sound of my own whining. So, I thought I needed to take a break from writing until I had something positive to say. Had to go find my optimism and get reacquainted!!! I am happy and relieved to say that I did find it. My optimism, that is. It was way, way, way back in the bottom of my closet, underneath the cowboy boots I just had to have, but almost never really wear, and the shirts that won't ever stay on their damn hangers and slip off into the bottom of the closet so many times that you finally just give up and leave them down there. Anyway, I dusted it off, reattached it, and I will never allow myself to lose it again. Fact: Life is just easier when you can look at it through an optimistic lens. Doesn't change that s**t happens, but it makes it a little less smelly!

Some good things have happened. Like, hubby finally got a new job. An 8 to 5, normal job, with weekends and even some holidays off. The boys and I (aka "the three musketeers") finally got him back! It has been absolutely amazing having my partner & best buddy around again. Those nights, weekends, and holiday hours were really hard on us. And, let's face it, part of the reason I was so stoked, was simply because I needed some help around here! I did the "single parenting while working full-time" thing for 4 long years, and I was full-on, sob-in-the-kitchen-while-trying-to-put-away-groceries, sleep-with-your-clothes-and-make-up-on, pass-out-while-in-mid-sentence-with-your-friend-on-the-phone, exhausted! And, frankly, way too tired for any sort of - ahem - intimacy...if you know what I mean. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, "Say no more!" (That last comment, was for all the other Monty Python fans out know who you are!) Seriously, though, y'know how you get so friggin' wiped out and so sick of taking care of everybody else's needs that sex starts to feel like just another responsibility to check off your to-do list? Pick up groceries - check, make kids' dentist appointment - check, throw laundry in the dryer - check, have sex with hubby before he explodes - check.....No? You honestly haven't ever felt that way? Then, you are either blessed with the sex drive of a 17 year old, testosterone-fueled teenage boy, are in a new relationship, are under the age of 35, or have no children!!! Bless your little heart! Hope it stays that way for you.....Anyway, after a fairly bumpy adjustment period, during which we had to figure out how to operate as partners again without committing spouse-icide (is that a word?) we muddled our way through and got back to being best friends, who also happen to be in love. Awwwwwwww....cue the sappy music. Anyhoo, all good there. We are a walking advertisement for sticking together through those tough times where you don't really like each other all that much but are committed enough to trust that things will get better over time. Woot woot! Yay, us!

Other good things? My boys are amazing. Now, almost 9 and 10, they are so much friggin' fun at this stage! They're at that age where they still need me, still love on me and hug me and snuggle with me, still give me a smooch in the car and flash me the "I love you" sign when I drop them off at school (Well, only Foster does that last part. Thanks, Fos. Makes my day every time!), BUT they can also entertain themselves for long periods of time without destroying the house, the dog, or each other, get themselves a snack, and even help out -- without being ASKED -- once in a while. I actually had a full 30 minutes of uninterrupted bathroom time last weekend! No one saying, "Mooooommmmmmm......he touched me!", "Moooooooooommmmmm.....I'm bored!", "Mooooooooommmmmmmmmm.....I'm hungry!" So, even though I didn't NEED a full 30 minutes in the bathroom, I stayed in there anyway, just 'cuz I could, reading all about George Clooney's new fiancé in peace and quiet. Shut up. Trashy entertainment magazines are one of my coping mechanisms. It's a guilty pleasure. Don't judge me!

My job is going......well, it's going. I can honestly say that this has been the worst professional year for me in 14 years of being a school counselor. I'm hanging in there, though, 'cuz even though I kind've hate my job this year, due to lots of circumstances and events that would bore you to tears, I also know, in my heart-of-hearts, that I really do love what I do, overall. Maybe not this year, but overall. It fills me, it feeds me, it makes me feel like I'm giving back to the world and helping guide some really precious young folks along the way to adulthood. So, I will not let one truly crappy year drive me away! We'll see what I'm saying at this time next year, eh?

But, here's the other reason I didn't write for so long. My mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer (pancreatic, in case you're wondering), and I lost my mojo. As I struggled to guide and support this wonderful, gentle, kind, funny woman through her last months of life, I tried to turn to writing to cope...but I couldn't make the words come out. Simply couldn't do it. When she gave up her valiant fight on February 15, 2013, I sat down again to write about her. I wanted to pour my heart out in homage to the most important woman in my life. I wanted to tell the world about how she never really enjoyed a meal, because she was so busy watching to make sure everyone else was enjoying theirs, how she put everyone else's needs above her own, how she could talk endlessly to a complete stranger and make them feel like they were her most important priority, how she unconditionally loved - and truly understood - my challenging younger son, patiently teaching him how to crochet, never giving up on him, ferociously loving him, even when he was at his most challenging and unlovable, how she would tell me that I'm a good mom, when I was bawling my eyes out and feeling like I didn't know what the hell I was doing and was probably wrecking my children for life, how much I loved her twinkly blue eyes and her hands -- thin, delicate, fingers that were almost always freezing cold but could make me feel so comforted and safe... I wanted to say all of that and more. But the words wouldn't come...So I stopped trying.

Now, here I am -- Two years after my last post, three days before my second Mother's Day without my own mom, still missing her every single day, but finding myself suddenly ready to write again. So, watch out world, 'cuz Chicken Nugget Mama is back, to record my stubborn opinions, random thoughts, and the events of my life -- the exciting and, more frequently, the mundane -- for my boys to read someday. When they're older. A lot, lot, lot older. And, for friends and random strangers to read, if they feel like it. 'Cuz there's something kind've cool about throwing your thoughts out into the universe, knowing that maybe somewhere there's another exhausted, flustered, stubbornly optimistic mom or dad, who's just trying to muddle through the best they can, same as me...

Cheers!  -Beth

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