Fifteen years ago today, my husband and I exchanged our wedding vows. I had been married once before, and right before my first marriage ended, I had a long heart-to-heart with God. I asked Him for His forgiveness, and also asked that, if he were to bring another viable suitor my way, could he please bring a man who treated me with kindness, sincerity, and respect? Two weeks before my divorce was to become final, I met my husband for the very first time.
I learned very quickly that God had answered my prayers by "introducing" me to this man. My husband is the kindest, gentlest, most loving person a woman could ever ask for. He treats me as his equal, never making me feel inferior or disrespected.
He taught me how love should be, not how I thought love should be. He makes my life so easy, and says or does things every single day to make me fall in love with him all over again.
He is my protector, my savior, my lover, and my friend. He helps me to rear our children fairly, kindly, and with respect.
I consider myself incredibly lucky, not only because he chose me to be his wife, but also because I was given the gift of this man in my life. I hope, with all my heart, that our life together ventures forward into our golden years, and that we can look forward to many, many more anniversaries to come.
Our local Boys and Girls Club graciously offered to take a bunch of the teens to Spooky World last week. Surprisingly, my son was among them. There were a few years there when I wanted to take my kids, but thought the ghosts and gobblies that pop out from every direction, and the gruesome rides and attractions would be way too much for tender young hearts (can you just IMAGINE the amount of Monster Spray I'd need after that excursion? Oy!). But, my son decided he was old enough (and brave enough), and joined his friends. Another rite of passage for him, I guess. Be still, my quivering Mama's heart.
He actually said he had a really good time, too. Maybe TOO good. His new "idea" is to stay home and scare the holy crap out of all the little ones as they step onto our front porch. His plan? To hang out on the recesses of our front porch (which is shaped like a LONG rectangle, with the front doors on one end of the porch), and stay perfectly still, until an unsuspecting little one climbs our stairs to Trick-or-Treat us -- then he's going to pounce.
He thought that was a terrific idea. I was horrified. I told him, "How would you like it if someone did that to your little sister?" I guess that image was too much for him to bear, because now he's going to stay home (he feels he's gotten too "big" for Trick-or-Treating now... another rite of passage.... I tell ya, I don't know how much more of this I can take! :), and simply pass out the candy to the little ones.
I thought I was being the good doobie mom by preventing him to do something as sinister as that, but I spoke to a friend of mine (who's a decade older than my son), who said he's planning on doing the exact same thing. And then, I remembered.... my brother (who's 52) does something similar, as well.
(Okay...so this one's a day late. I started it yesterday, but never finished it. Go ahead... you can beat me with a wet noodle. You have my permission.)
I love my husband. I truly, honestly do. And, I know that I'm blessed to have him in my life, in so many ways.
That being said, there's one remarkably BAD trait about him, that no amount of gentle nudging (and I'm sure quite a bit of nagging on my end over the years) can change. He's PITIFULLY sloppy. Granted, he's gotten much, MUCH better than he was when we first began co-habitating, but he's still pretty notorious for just leaving things where they lay, and not giving a goodness gracious heck if they stay there until the dust bunnies move in around it and take up residence. He's got better things to do than to pick them up. Like watching a NASCAR race. Yawn.
Anywhoosie... my wonderful, sweet, generous husband knows that I need much more in the way of sleep than he does. Therefore, every Sunday morning, he gets up with the girls (my son would sleep until Christmas if we let him) during the wee small hours of the morning, leaving me to stretch out and really lounge for another hour. Or two.
The downside to this luxury? I emerge from our bedroom to a house that looks like we've just set down on the Wicked Witch of the East. He cooks a lip-smackin', down-home country style breakfast every Sunday morning.... and leaves a huge, heaping, bloody mess in my kitchen to show for it. The newspaper he was reading while eating this amazing breakfast can be found picked through and strewn all across my dining room table. And, because the girls feel like they can roam free throughout the house, making their mark wherever they go, there are trails of toys, pillows, blankets, clothes, and various other "girly" belongings all throughout the house. They like it when Daddy gets up with 'em, in more ways than one.
In earlier years, this disaster area would have set me reeling. Now, however, I take it all with a grain of salt. Oh, sure, I get on them all to clean up their messes, but I no longer allow myself to stress and strain over it all. I simply tell myself that on Monday morning, when my husband has left for work and my oldest two children are off to school, I will reclaim my house. MY house. I will primp and fix and position all of the furniture where it belongs. I will pick up the objects that have been strewn all over the floors. I will put away things in their proper place.
And these people with whom I live KNOW that they don't mess with Mama during the week. Sunday is their only day to kick up and go wild. And I guess that's a fair enough compromise.
Here in New England, it's turned quite chilly really fast. Like turn-the-heat-on chilly. (I hated to do it, but yes, I succumbed.)
On Monday, while in the midst of dropping my littlest little off at school, her Junior Teacher said to me, "I've been told to inform all of the parents that we'll be taking a nature walk on Thursday, and it's supposed to be freezing out Thursday morning, so we're asking that all of the kids be dressed appropriately." I told her that my Little Miss went to school this morning in her late fall/early winter coat, with a hat, a scarf, and some Thinsulate mittens. She was all set.
The teacher then said to me, "Well, to be honest, I wasn't concerned about your daughter at all, 'cause I know you take good care of her. But, I was told to say that to everyone." My response was, "Yeah.... I'm not like SOME mothers in here, who dress their daughters in sundresses and Crocs when it's 45 degrees outside." (NOT kidding!)
So, this morning, because I knew in advance that they were taking this walk, and because it surely was frigid out first thing this morning, I piled the clothes on my little one. She went to school dressed in her a pair of jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, and a sweatshirt. And, as before, when leaving the house, we put her in her coat, hat, mittens and scarf.
We got to her school, and I signed her into the parent's log, and she went off to "sign in" on the kids' board. As she was looking to move her name from the "Out" column to the "In" column, I noticed the same little girl I mentioned before, sitting in the listening station with her mom.
Wanna know what her mom dressed HER in today?
She had on a tank-top style velour leotard. Oh, and Crocs. That's IT.
What makes it WORSE (if there is such a thing), is that her mom doesn't even drive her to school. She sticks her daughter in her swanky, fancy-schmancy jogging stroller, and she pushes her to school while rollerblading! So, this poor child is being exposed to the elements.... in her leotard and Crocs!
I was COMPLETELY appalled, and more than a little shocked when, as I was getting ready to leave, I heard her say to her daughter, "Do you want to think about putting your pants on now, sweetie?"
Huh??? Are you KIDDING ME???!!! Is it just me??
And of course, you KNOW that kid will be the only one in school who NEVER gets sick. Isn't that always the way?
I walked out of the school, shaking my head all the way. I got out to the car, turned on the ignition.
This is a tag, of sorts. So, for those who want to play along... feel free! Just let me know that you've added it to your blog, so I can take a peek. Thanks!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TEN THINGS I REMEMBER ABOUT GROWING UP:
1) Cowl necks:
I had a sweater almost exactly like this, only mine was red and white striped. I triple loved this article of clothing. I think I even took a school picture with it on one year. VERY 70's chic!
2) Bonne Belle Lipsmackers:
EVERY girl carried at least one of these in her purse. It was almost sacrilegious not to own them! My all-time favorite flavor was (and still is) strawberry.
3) Wacky Packages:
I went almost certifiable, collecting these bad boys for awhile. I never got the coveted "Band Ache" one, though. This one was the crown jewel of Wacky Packages, and only the real die-hard collectors (or, those whose parents would willingly shell out tons of dough for their kids to buy these) would own one. My mother was cheap. She was saving her money for ridiculous things. Like food.
4) Charlie perfume:
This was the VERY first perfume I was ever allowed to wear. I think I was about 14 when I got a bottle of it for Christmas, and I was thrilled! Of course, it never occurred to me that I smelled just like every other girl in my class.
I absolutely LOVED this toy as a child, and had it on my Christmas list more than once. I never got tired of plugging in those little lights into the preset holes, and turning the thing on once I was done, to have the lit picture appear. It was completely awesome to me. Of course, I nearly blinded myself once or twice with the bare light bulb in the viewer, and I scorched my hands several times with the hot lights. Nevertheless, it was a thrill.
6) "I'm Leaving It All Up To You" -- by Donny and Marie Osmond
I can clearly remember wanting this album for the LONGEST time. It seemed to take forever to save my weekly allowance to have enough to purchase it. When I finally owned it, I practically wore it out, playing it over and over again (on my turquoise and white portable record player, no less! :)
7) The Dorothy Hamill "Wedge"
I'm willing to bet that John Suga had NO idea what kind of phenomenon he'd create when he cut Dorothy Hamill's hair into the perfect "wedge". Girls lined up all over the world to duplicate her cute and sassy style, myself included. It took quite a bit of courage for me to cut my hair this short, but once I did, I loved it, and wore it this way for YEARS.
8) Earth Shoes:
These shoes were as ugly as they were comfortable, and I absolutely loved my brown suede pair. I wore them all the time.
9) Roller skates:
To the youngin's that frequent my blog... yes, these really ARE roller skates, and these are very similar to the pair I owned as a child. You'd slip them on over your shoes, buckle them around your ankles, and tighten them to fit your foot with a key (which looked sort of like a mini ratchet). These were state-of-the art back in the early '70's, and they made the BEST sound on concrete!
10) Charlie's Angels:
As completely hokey as this show was, MAN, did I love it in my early teen years! I had a "girl crush" on Farrah Fawcett so badly, that I named all of my early diaries Farrah! (And, if you tell anyone that, I'll dope slap ya! ;)
Even though that's ten things, I couldn't do this tag without including some of my favorite dolls/toys I loved growing up, too:
* Thumbelina Doll:
I must have been about seven when I got my Thumbelina for Christmas. I adored her. I loved the way she felt like a real baby, and the way she squirmed like a baby when you pulled the string on her back. She was one of my very favorites for a long time.
* Barbies and Dawn Dolls:
I owned a BUTTLOAD of these dolls, and played with them all the time. I found out, years later, that my little niece took up the habit of biting the feet off of all my dolls, so my poor mother had to go out and replace tons of them before I got home from school. I always wondered why my dolls looked so new! :)
* Flatsy Patsy dolls:
I had a couple of these dolls too (Patsy and a few of her friends), and I really had fun with them, too. I loved how their outfits snapped on and off. It was quite innovative at the time! :)
I never owned any of these (my mother had a thing about toys with small parts), but I had a friend in school who had a bunch of them, and I envied her. I thought they were the cutest things!
* Pocket Pets:
I can clearly remember going to the five and dime store around the corner from my elementary school, and buying a few of these with my own money. I thought they were so adorable, and so tiny! I never got to get as many as I would have liked, but I made up for it in my adult years -- my little one now has her very own collection of these (thanks to EBay!).
* Joan Walsh Anglund's Pocket Dolls:
The artwork of Joan Walsh Anglund has recently been "copied" by another artist called Gorjuss (c'mon... you know it has!), but this doll is a prime example of the original work. I begged my mother for one of these, for the longest time, and wound up getting one for Christmas one year. Mine has black hair, parted in the middle and put up into ponytails, and is wearing a red and white pinafore-style dress. I still have her, to this day, and she has been well-loved. In fact, I've recently had to relinquish her to my youngest daughter, because my Pocket Doll makes her feel more comfortable while she sleeps. Apparently, she loves her, too! :)
Well, there's my brief trip down memory lane! I hope you've enjoyed it, and I can't wait to see all of your contributions! Don't forget to let me know that you've done it, so I can be sure to check it out.
This tag entails the "tagee" listing six quirks about them. So, for better or worse... here goes:
1) As tired as I've been during the day, I absolutely CANNOT take a nap if I'm alone in the house. I've certainly tried, but all of the quiet brings out all of the noises, and it just wigs me out too much.
2) I also cannot take a shower if I'm alone in the house, either. Think Norman Bates, and you'll get it.
3) I'm a stickler about making sure that doors and drawers are CLOSED. All cabinet doors, closet doors, bureau drawers, linen cabinet drawers... they have to be SHUT TIGHT. It completely irks me if they aren't. In fact, if either the closet or room door isn't shut before I go to sleep, then I HAVE to get up out of bed to close it, or I can't sleep.
4) When I go to cook anything, all of my countertops HAVE to be free of clutter, and my kitchen sink cannot have a single dirty dish in it. I have to make sure everything's neat and tidy before I can start preparing a meal.
5) I can look like the biggest schlep in the world when I walk out the door and not give a rat's patoot, but my kids HAVE to look neat. Their clothes have to match, they have to be clean and neat, and they have to look nice.
6) I have to fall asleep watching the television, but I can't stay asleep if the TV is left on. I always wake up at some point and shut it off.
Okay, now that I've completed Paula's request, I ask that anyone who wants to participate, please feel free. Just make sure I know you're doing it, so I can come and read your responses! :)
I had another one of my "monthly" headaches last night, so I retired to bed EARLY. Mostly just to rest my weary head and try and rid myself of the marching band that was pounding behind my eyeballs.
However, as is the norm in my household, whenever I climb into my bed, I'm almost certainly never left alone. Either one (or both) of my daughters has to come in and cuddle with me. Even my cat, Bear, wants in on some of the cuddle action from time to time. Poor guy... he tried last night, he really did... but he was out maneuvered by my littlest little, who'd taken up prime residence, occupying her dad's side of the bed. Even my oldest daughter had to relinquish herself to lying across the foot of the bed, 'cause apparently, S. needed some more Mama time.
Before S. got all cozy though, I made her go potty, and get out the Monster Spray so she could vanquish the evil nightdwellers once again. After an empty bladder, and a satisfactory dousing, she was content to crawl back into bed next to me.
R. fell asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow. I'd taken her out of school early yesterday, so she could pay a visit to her pediatrician. The cold she once had is all but gone, but a lingering (and horrific sounding) cough remains, and it had me concerned enough that I thought it warranted another visit to her doc. He took her off amoxicillin, and put her on Augmentin, which knocks her out even FASTER. She was out like a light in minutes.
S., on the other hand, took awhile longer to nestle into the task of sleeping, probably 'cause she'd had a nice little snooze during the mid-afternoon. It was fine with me, though -- she wasn't protesting what I was watching on TV, and it gave me the opportunity to talk with her, and tell her that when she did fall asleep, I'd let her stay for awhile, but when it was bedtime for Daddy she'd have to be moved into her bed. She asked if I'd carry her in, and I promised her I would, which I did, when the time came.
My fear was that she would be SO sound asleep when I transported her from my bed into hers, that she would do what she'd done a few nights before... wake in the middle of the night completely disoriented, wondering how she got into her room, when she'd fallen asleep in mine! But, praise be, she not only did NOT do that.... she SLEPT THROUGH THE ENTIRE NIGHT!!
When my husband tiptoed into our bedroom at 6:30 this morning to kiss me goodbye, I was shocked and amazed! I absolutely could not believe that my daughter and I both FINALLY got a decent night's sleep! WOOOHOOOO!!
Let's all hope and pray this marks the beginning of a really good run of evenings. Our weary bodies need it so badly!
As most of you who have more than one child can attest, the relationship between them can be pretty dicey. One minute, they're each other's best friends in the entire world -- bound to each other by this secret code that no one can possibly break. The next minute, they're ready to get in the ring and fight to the death over something as small as a toy that they both want, and neither is ready to relinquish.
Such is the case with my two daughters. Most of the time, they play very nicely together. In fact, right now, I can hear them in R's room, which is at the top of the second floor landing. They're playing their own, make-believe version of "Rock Band", and both making up this sing-songy little ditty as they go along. Priceless.
Yesterday, however, was a different story. Oh, they were fine together for quite awhile, but S. tends to believe that R. is her soulmate, and can sometimes be a bit too suffocating for a prepubescent girl, who occasionally wants to be left alone to embark on a particular activity. I was sitting here, burning a copy of the new High School Musical movie soundtrack for R. (who was thrilled beyond belief that I'd actually figured out how to do that, because, as you know, she's secretly hoping to be Mrs. ZacEfron someday). Miss R. was sitting directly behind me at the dining room table, working on one of those supermarket coloring contest pages, in the hopes that she'll once again win in her age category and get some sort of prize (she actually WON something last year, and is hoping for a reprieve).
Miss S. saw the paper, and the bucket of crayons, and probably thought she'd died and gone to Heaven. In her quieter moments, she'll sit placidly behind me on the floor and color to her heart's content. But... to actually be able to share in one of her most beloved activities with her big sister??? Well, it must have been almost too much for her little beating heart to handle!
Miss R., however, would have none of it. S. wanted all of the particular colors that R. wished to use, as well, and every time S. would even brush her tiny fingers over R's artwork, all Hell would break loose.
I had to scold them several times, because quite frankly, they were starting to get on my last nerve. That is, until R. decided that she'd just about had enough of her then pesky little sister, poking around with all of her favorite crayons, and threatening to potentially ruin her in-the-works masterpiece.
From behind me, I heard R. begin to proclaim, "Give me that crayon! I need that color to finish this part! Will you just go away and leave me alone, please?"
And then finally, the one sentence that made me break, "Will you stop touching things, Miss Touchy-Touch!!"
Maybe it was my ever-present sleep deprivation. Maybe it was the fact that the cold medicine I'd taken earlier had just fully kicked in, making my head all loopy and disoriented, and taking me out of my typical MAMA role. Maybe it was just 'cause we all needed to lighten up a bit.
Whatever the situation, I found that one sentence ridiculously, insanely funny, and began cracking up laughing. The girls had no idea what I found to be such a hoot, but, as we all know, laughter is contagious. So, they just laughed along. 'Cause that's what little kids do.
They decided to put the coloring away, and go play warriors. My tomboy, and Miss Touchy-Touch.
My oldest daughter has taken up the habit of "dining" with my mom every night. I think she likes the one-on-one attention she gets from Nana. Either that, or she doesn't like the food I cook! Either way, it's perfectly all right.
Anyway, after asking for my permission, she trotted on down to my mother's apartment to share a meal with her. The next morning, my mom came upstairs, and she told me that she had cooked some chicken and rice (both pretty much staples of Miss R's. diet). When she asked R. what kind of vegetable she wanted, my daughter gave her a sweet smile, and basically said, "I'll pass." "No", my mother persisted (after all, she IS my mother.... even though I wanted to say, "Yeah, right... good luck with getting her to eat vegetables!"), "...you're going to have some sort of vegetable with dinner." My mom walked over to her cupboard to see what kinds of canned veggies she had on hand. "I have green beans, peas, beets...." to which my daughter asked, "Do you have corn? I like corn." "Well, yes, I have corn, but I'm not going to heat it up because we're already having rice, and that's two starches. What about something else? Are there any other vegetables you like?"
"I like ketchup", my daughter proudly proclaimed.
Like I said.... good luck with that.
I'd just finished picking up R. from school yesterday, and the usual car ride conversation commenced: "How was school? Did you have fun today? Did you do anything special in class?". I also asked her about her spelling test, which I knew she was very nervous about. Her teacher gives the entire class a pre-test on Monday, and those who get 9 out of 10 correct can do a certain set of language activities. Those who get less than 9 correct work on activities that focus on their spelling words for the week. On Tuesday morning, Rachel got her test back. She got 2 out of 10 correct. (Well, in her defense, even the teacher said the words were really hard this week!). So, she was in the group that did various activities to learn the words, in preparation for the "real" spelling test, on Friday.
Back to the car conversation. Again, I asked her how she did on her test. She excitedly told me she got a 10 out of 10! I was thrilled for her, and let her know that she did an excellent job.
She went on to tell me that one of her girlfriends got a 9 out of 10, and she felt badly because she was the only one (the rest of the class got all of their spelling words correct). So, my precious, compassionate daughter said to her, "It's okay. As long as you did your best, that's all that matters. You should never feel ashamed for the grade you got, as long as you know you tried your hardest."
I couldn't have said it better myself. :)
I reconnected with two old friends this week, and I feel really good about that.
I was talking on the phone with one of these old friends last night, and he and I were reminiscing about all things high school. It was a hoot, recalling old times, old friends, familiar faces and familiar places. He's out in Oregon now, and he's admitted to feeling a bit homesick. I'd like to think it made him feel better to reach out to someone who's still on home turf.
Anyway, we were chatting away, and my littlest little was doing what she does best when I'm on the phone; hanging on my hip, trying to vie for my attention, and being a total noodge (for those of you who get pissed at me for not wanting to talk on the phone.... I say to you, just talk to my friend, and he'll explain why!). I kept going from room to room, trying to grab a bit of quiet so I could hear my friend talk (and myself think!), but she kept finding me. At one point, I was in my bedroom, sitting on the bed, and she climbed up, wanting to "cuddle" with me. So, I was holding the phone with one hand, while rubbing her belly with the other, all the while, chatting it up with my friend. At one point, I dropped the "F" bomb. My daughter, who had been completely relaxed, popped up, looked at me with her big, doe-like eyes, and said, "You said the BAD word, Mommy!"
I don't think my friend and I stopped laughing for a good two minutes.
You know the drill... just lemme know if you're playing along, and I'll go check out your blog. Danka! :)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My Elite 8:
8 Favorite TV shows... 1. Grey's Anatomy 2. Boston Legal 3. Project Runway 4. Dirty Jobs 5. Heroes 6. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives 7. Mad Men 8. Bizarre Foods
8 Favorite Restaurants... 1. The Border Cafe 2. On The Border 3. The Olive Garden 4. Macaroni Grille 5. The Great Wok (not really a restaurant, but they have the BEST Chinese food!) 6. Chili's 7. Cafe Luigi 8. Blue Ribbon Diner
8 things that happened yesterday... 1. My computer crashed 2. I spent 47 hours yesterday, trying to reload ALL of the information I've lost 3. My little one had her very first playdate with her new BFF from preschool! 4. I reconnected with an old friend 5. I was invited to a Pampered Chef party (and am actually thinking about going! :) 6. I started to feel sick.... again 7. I got the two EBay packages delivered that I'd been waiting for 8. I received some cookware handoffs, that my sister didn't want anymore (hey... they're perfectly all right for me! :)
8 things to look forward to... 1. Everyone in this family NOT BEING SICK anymore! 2. Sleeping through the night... again 3. Halloween 4. Thanksgiving 5. Christmas 6. Taking my kids to see Santa 7. Being able to work at my daughter's school, to make some extra cash 8. My oldest daughter's birthday
8 things I love about Fall... 1. The warm days 2. The cool nights 3. NOT SWEATING all day long! :) 4. Being able to wear a lot of my favorite clothes 5. The kids FINALLY going back to school! 6. The beginning of the holiday season 7. Halloween 8. Thanksgiving
8 things on my wish list... 1. Having a little one who sleeps through the night 2. Having a son who keeps up his good grades 3. Being able to spend more quality time with my husband 4. That my kids have a wonderful Christmas 5. "New Moon" and "Eclipse" (could someone tell my husband, please? ;) 6. Finding some cash windfall somewhere (just enough to help us out financially... don't want to be greedy!) 7. Figuring out a way to start a diet and actually STICK to it! 8. No one in my house gets sick again for the rest of the winter!
Can you e-mail me, please? My computer got thoroughly messed up, and I had to do a system recovery. Which means I lost EVERYTHING, including all of my e-mail addys. :( I keep trying to log into your private blog, but it says I'm not invited.
The good news is that, with all of the posters that we made and hung up in her room, and with another dose of the Monster Spray (and the corresponding chant) administered, she had NO bad dreams of monsters last night.
The bad news is.... she STILL woke up three times in an hour (between 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m.) this morning.
Not so yay.
She'd fallen asleep in her room, with her television and light on. I shut off the light, plugged in an extra nightlight, and decided to leave the TV on, but turn the volume almost all the way down, to see if the extra light, and the "company" from the TV might make a difference.
The first time she woke up, she probably saw the TV still on, realized she'd fallen asleep watching it, and came out into the living room to look for my husband and me. When she couldn't find us, she came into our room, looking for me. So... I put her back into her bed, and asked her if she wanted me to leave the TV on. She did. She also wanted her light on. I personally thought it was too much light for her, and tried to talk her out of it, but she'd have none of it. So, I unplugged the second nightlight, and plugged her desk lamp back in, turned it on, left the room, and said a little prayer before crawling back into bed.
I flicked the channels on my TV, found "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" airing on the Food Network (I LOVE that show!), and settled in to watch it for a bit. I had JUST dozed off when my bedroom door swung open again, for Round Two.
This time, she was complaining that she wanted the light OFF. *ugh!* I bit my lip, salvaged my last thread of patience, and shut the light off, after asking if she wanted the second nightlight back on. She didn't. But, she DID want the TV back on (she'd shut it off when she got up out of bed). So, I turned it back on, made sure the volume was just above a whisper, tucked her in, gave her squishes and smooches and left the room, returning back to Guy and Triple D's.
I just started dozing off again, when... you guessed it. Round Three began.
She came into my room again, THIS TIME needing to go potty. Okay. So, I lugged out of bed AGAIN, and went into the bathroom with her, trying to dismiss the fact that I'd suggested to her, BOTH times before, that she use the bathroom before getting back into bed, only to have her vehemently deny my request. Yet here I stood, a full hour later, listening to her whizzing in the toilet. Another testament that children should listen to their mother.
We repeated the tucking in, squishing and smooching, and saying goodnight process one more time, and I dragged myself back to my side of the bed. By now, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives had been replaced by another show, and I was too tired to even care to find out what it was. I shut out the light, shut off my TV, and prayed to God for sweet salvation.
She didn't enter our room again until sometime after sunrise. I couldn't tell you what time it was, and frankly, I didn't care. It was my husband's turn. :)
For those of you who read yesterday's post, and were scratching their heads (and thinking to yourself, "That poor, sleep deprived woman has FINALLY gone off the deep end!"), the "Monster Spray" is actually a bottle I picked up at The Dollar Tree, filled with water and just a dab of the stinkiest perfume I could find in my house (you know the free samples you can get at the makeup counters? I used one of those). I basically told Miss S. this ENTIRE story, and she and I literally did the chant to "seal the deal".
And guess what?
No... it's probably not what you think.
Not only did last night NOT work... it was her worst night YET! There was nothing I could do to get her back into her bed after she awoke from another horrid dream. So, she wound up jammed into bed between my husband and me for a couple of hours. She fell fast asleep, while I sat motionless and brutally uncomfortable, watching T.V. from 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., when I finally decided she HAD to be asleep enough to allow me to carry her back into her room. I picked her up and carefully transported her from one room to the next, praying the ENTIRE time that she'd stay asleep, and not re-awaken and want to crawl back into our bed (so I'd have to start the whole damned process all over again!). But, Glory Be, she stayed asleep.... until 5:15, when she woke again. But, that time, at least, I got her to go back down in HER bed.
I was so surprised to hear my husband telling me that she was still asleep when he came in to our bedroom to say goodbye to me at 7:20 this morning. I guess she's just as weary from all of this as I am.
Today, R., S., and I made a bunch of posters that we're going to strategically place around her room (one on the outside of her bedroom door, one on the inside of her bedroom door, one on the inside of her closet door, and one on the floor, underneath her bed). All of the posters depict either S. or R. as Warrior Princesses, attacking monsters, and screaming at them to "Go Away!", and "Don't Bother Me Anymore!", and "Never Come Back!". We'll also douse the room with Monster Spray again, and again recite the ritual.
If this doesn't work, I'll seriously think about calling a Priest to exorcise her room.
Okay, guys and gals. Today was the day that I had to pull out the big guns. The heavy ammunition. I had to go to that very special place -- to the Well of Tranquility, where only the parents of the most imaginative boys and girls are allowed. Armed with an empty bottle, I told my tale of woe to the Gatekeeper... a stodgy old man who writes the needs of bleary-eyed parents and their shell-shocked, fearful little ones down in his ledger, as a way of documenting our visiting history (and, as a means to distinguish those who are drawing from the Well of Tranquility too often). Once the sleeptime events are transcribed, he presents the documentation to the Mistress of the Well, who determines whether the potent nectar may be released into the hands of the needy parents.
You see... when used sparingly, this magic liquid rids any space of monsters. Monsters lingering under beds, monsters hiding under bureaus, monsters squeezing between cracks and crevices, monsters blending into walls, monsters peeking from behind pictures, monsters leering behind curtains. Monsters of all shapes and sizes. Kills 'em all. Dead. Like some kind of supernatural Raid.
This is the first time I'd made the trek to the Well of Tranquility in almost six years. The last time I went, my oldest daughter was being menaced with these vile creatures, who used to rattle her awake during the wee hours of the morning. Back then, I'd brought a cute little pink and black bottle, which was filled to an invisible line, seen only by the Gatekeeper and the Mistress, who determined (based on the severity of my daughter's particular case) just how much we'd need to rid the area of the offending ogres. They then labelled my bottle as "Monster Spray", so I'd never inadvertently confuse it with any other ordinary cleaning solution. Not a drop of this precious liquid should ever be wasted.
Six years later, and I found myself needing to take the same trip. I'd almost forgotten exactly which knoll the Well was cushioned within, but I found it quite by accident, when I took what I thought was a wrong turn. The Gatekeeper met me with even older, more tired eyes, and muttered the occasional "Hmmmm" and "I see", as he took up his quill and frantically began writing the plight of my little one. His hand moved with lightning speed as I explained to him the severity of my daughter's situation, stating that she's been woken up twice a night, on average, for the past several months, and there have been times when certain monsters were so fierce and menacing that she sprinted from her room, letting out a blood-curdling scream.
This statement made him stop his writing short.
"Hmmmm..." he said. "Quite extraordinary. I've heard enough. Wait here while I take the matter up with the Mistress."
I waited quite some time, watching the line of weary parents increase behind me, bottles in hand, as they waited their turn to relate their child's tale and bring home their liquid jewel.
After some time, I finally I saw the tiny, frail man emerge from his minuscule door, carved out just for him from the massive wooden paneled gates that were the entrance to the Mistresses castle. I noticed that the small bottle I'd handed him had been replaced with a much larger version. On it, the words "MONSTER SPRAY" were scrawled in thick black ink. And, on the sides, the phrases, "Keep out!" "Stay away!", and "Back off!" were written with a more delicate, red pen.
As he handed me the bottle, he said, "My Mistress and I agree... you and your wee one are in dire need of a much wealthier dose of the Spray. Again, just a little works well, but let your girl child tell you where she wishes the Spray to be placed. Do so and her sleep will be as sweet as the aroma of the Spray itself. Do not forget to recite the following crede, after the Spray has been administered: '1-2-3, 3-2-1, Let All These Monsters At Once Be GONE!"
I thanked him profusely, and bounded my way home, to share my precious gift with Miss S. She and I got to work right away, and she pointed out all of the areas where the monsters lay dormant within her room; waiting for the time when the lights go out, and her sleep becomes heavy. After the Spray was carefully administered, we held hands, and recited the all-important crede.
I only hope that the Gatekeeper, and Her Royal Mistress, have worked the potion well, and my little one can once again begin to rest easy throughout the night.
I truly do believe that in life, there are no accidents; that everything that happens does so for a reason. Today, I received another affirmation for my belief. A friend of mine passed this along to me today, of all days, and its message really hit home to me, and made me feel better about all I've been through over the past week or so.
I hope its message moves you, too.
A little boy asked his mother, "'Why are you crying?" "Because I'm a woman," she told him. "I don't understand," he said. His Mom just hugged him and replied, "And you never will."
Later, the little boy asked his father, "Why does Mother seem to cry for no reason?" "All women cry for no reason," was all his Dad could say.
The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why women cry. Finally he put in a call to God. When God answered, the young man asked, "God, why do women cry so easily?" God said, "When I made the woman, she had to be special. I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to give comfort. I gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth, and the rejection that her children will sometimes give her."
" I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up, and to take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining. I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her very badly."
"I gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults, and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart. (I LOVED this!) I gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfalteringly."
"And finally, I gave her a very special tear to shed. This is hers exclusively to use whenever it is needed. That tear holds more then men could understand. If a man were to shed her tear, it would look enormous. "
"For a woman's tear is full of unconditional love, power, sacrifice, beauty, pain and compassion. All ten fold of what a Man is able to feel. And that my Son is, why I made her as close to being Supernatural. She is my gift to the world, and an Angel on Earth. 'Love her and praise her for there will be no other here on Earth that will love you like I do than your Mother.
''You see my son," said God, "The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart - the place where love resides."