Tag Archives: mom

Never Any Doubt

Mother’s Day is fast approaching, which means there will probably be a (well-deserved) wave of posts honoring the women who brought us all into this world. While I always make sure to say what I mean and mean what I say, when it comes to being openly emotive and mushy?

momNot so much.

This is not a trait I inherited from my mom, as she openly proclaims her love for people and things at an almost disturbingly frequent rate, hugging people she just met and tearing up over a random card I might send in the mail.

I used to find this annoying, and to be honest, sometimes I still do. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s often hard to relate to a virtue in someone else that you can’t easily conceive of in yourself.

But as an adult I’ve learned to navigate these differences and approach our relationship differently. She’ll never change who she is—loving, but stubborn as hell—and accepting our differences instead of constantly fighting against them has really been key as the years have gone by.

Which brings me to my point.

I’ve written about my mom’s disability before, but it can be summarized by saying she’s had 13 spinal surgeries, among other issues, and her neck and spine are completely fused.

Even though things weren’t “normal” with my mom when I was a kid—surgeries, braces, body casts—she made sure that everything else I knew was. I was raised with the knowledge that I was special, I was smart, I was loved.

Things haven’t become easier as time has gone on. I still worry about her on a daily basis, and I know she still worries about me. We both have our reasons to worry. But no matter what I might doubt in this world—myself, humanity, the validity of expiration dates on ChapStick—one thing I will never, ever doubt is the love that my mom has for me.

How she does it—how any parent does it—amazes me.

I would be a mess.

The thought of loving something that much, watching that little person leave my side or feel pain or hurt or sadness in any way, feeling so helpless as to how things might turn out—and doing most of this behind that “mom” mask of strength that so many moms seem to wear—all that would scare me to death.

But this isn’t about me.

It’s about my mom—every mom—who goes through these feelings of doubt that they’re doing things “right.”  Doubt that their children are happy and loved, that they know they’re happy and loved, that they’re protected enough but not overly so.

Maybe it’s because I’m older now or because I hear it from friends or read it on blogs, but I never fully grasped the scope and the depth of the sacrifice you all so willing make every day, most often with laughter and love. 

I thank you.

Because while I’ll never have kids of my own—my level of nurturing and dedication extends only to a (fake) houseplant—I respect the women who do, not just for what they do on a daily basis, but for who they are.

Women who worry. Women who sacrifice. Women who raise their children with the knowledge that they’re special, that they’re smart, that they’re loved and accepted—even if they’re not mushy.

I’m lucky.

I’ve never had any doubt.

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Moms Are Nuts

I missed two of my mom’s calls the other day, which meant I assumed the helicopter flying over my house was part of the search crew she called.

Now don’t get me wrong—I love my mom a lot.

After all, she did raise me in the days before she could take to social media and complain about how hard it is to be a mom. In fact, she even did it while going through 13 spinal surgeries and a host of other issues and still managed to raise a highly intelligent dog and then me, a semi-functional/slightly-neurotic daughter who uses her mom for blog fodder from time to time.

Well, this is one of those times.

Why? Because all moms are nuts. Maybe not “dress a dead cat up in a bright red sweater before burying it in the backyard” or “force her daughter to bring a traveling gnome to the theater” nuts like my mom, but in one way or another, they’re all nuts.

If you need proof, I present to you this exciting new book you can buy.

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In fact, you can buy EXTRA copies of it and send it to all the moms out there for Mother’s Day as proof that even the moms of Emmy winners and TV personalities are sometimes bat shit crazy.

The fancy description:

Moms are Nuts is a collection of stories about mothers, grandmothers, mother-in-laws and mother figures who have crossed the paths of some of the wittiest writers and comedians. Laugh your way through 26 brilliant stories… some of which may sound waaaay too familiar.”

And then there’s this from the back cover:

“Emmy winners, magazine editors, comedians, TV personalities, bestselling authors and social media superstars team up to bring you a laugh-out-loud book not about being a mom, but about having a mom, grandmom or mom-figure. And while it’s not OK for someone else to make yo-momma jokes about your momma, it is perfectly healthy even downright hilarious to find the humor in your own upbringing. In fact, these writers highly recommend it. So if you think your mom is nuts, pull up a chair. You’re in good company.”

Who are some of these people?

Only the likes of Gloria Fallon, Suzy Soro, Amy Vansant and Wendi Aarons, among a bunch of other people with a well-established resume of success despite—and even possibly as a result of—the mother figure in their lives.

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Oh yeah. I’m in there, too.

For all of the details, you can check out the website and then head on over to Amazon to buy the ALL the copies in paperback and Kindle! Not only will you laugh and feel a bit normal, but you can add a copy of “I Just Want to be Alone” and have your Mother’s Day shopping done.

And if you have wrapping paper left over from Christmas, use that to wrap it up in. This will show your mom that not only do you have a sense of humor, but also a deep devotion to recycling and being earth-friendly.

Win-win!

So if you love your mother, be sure to pick this book up. Either as a token of your affection, or as a way to distract yourself when she’s 15 minutes into making a “long story short” on the phone.

You’ll thank me later.

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I’m a Fixer


I’m a fixer.

Home improvements aside, if I see something that’s off in any way I have the urge to try and make it better. But there are certain things I just can’t fix, and it frustrates me to no end.

When I was little, the fact that my mom was in a full body cast or gone for weeks at a time for surgery was completely normal to me. I thought the X-rays showing all the hardware in her back and neck were neat, and we had a kick-ass collection of braces and medical stuff to use when my friends and I played around.

But as I got older, I realized that despite the fact that she tried to keep everything normalized, my mom was in pain. All the time. She still is. The realization that there was nothing I could do to make it go away left me feeling helpless. All the time. I still do.

At some point you realize that things happen to you and happen around you that can’t be fixed.

And it’s not your job to fix them.

I bring this up because there seems to be a string of pretty crappy things happening to those around me lately, and it feels like every day I’m confronted with another story that proves we all have “something” that we’re dealing with that’s out of our control.

There’s no greater feeling of helplessness than to know that someone you care about is sick, financially strapped, in pain—physically or emotionally—or let’s be honest, dying.

I think a lot of people unintentionally ignore these things at times, not because they don’t care, but simply because they can’t “fix” them and have no clue how to react. Those who are sick or aging aren’t necessarily the same people we’ve known them to be, and selfishly, we want them to be the people they were before they got sick, before they got old, before they became so… mortal.

The realization that things will never be the same—and that you can’t fix it as such—is enough to make you stress yourself out in an attempt to save the world or conversely stay at home curled up in a ball, not dealing with it at all.

But just as much as you don’t want to deal with it, I can guarantee that the person who is sick or struggling doesn’t want to deal with it a million times more—but they do, often with courage and grace.

I think that in and of itself can be intimidating, the fact that you are lucky enough to be in a comparatively better position. The strength of those who aren’t can be inspiring beyond belief, but it can also make us question how we would be if faced with such a challenge.

It takes courage to face the unknown, but it’s much easier to do so when you’re on the right side of the coin, to be the one who has a choice.

But the fact is that as strong as they are or appear to be, they’re probably still scared. So we put the guilt aside for wanting them to be the people they were before they got sick, before they got old, before they became so…mortal—because at their core, they are the same people.

And you know what?

They know that you can’t fix things, and most don’t expect you to. They have no choice but to deal the hand they were dealt, and sometimes they just want you to hold that hand.

They don’t want to do it alone.

That’s one thing I—and you—can fix.

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Winter Wonder Word Search

Hello dear friends and readers!

I hope you had a lovely Christmas, Festivus, Hanukkah, Kwanza or regular old week in your worlds. Mine was lovely and very low-key and involved a “Too Cute” marathon on Animal Planet at my mom’s and a “No Reservations” marathon at home.

I asked for an electric can opener that I received, so that was exciting and another avenue in which I can probably maim myself in the kitchen. My mom cried at the donation to Muttville and new humidifier I got her and we did our annual holiday dance of, “You did too much” and “Just shut up and say thank you without being such a witch.”

It’s tradition.

Anyway, because most of you are still out celebrating while others of us are back at work—but mostly because I really have nothing else funny to say—I figured it was a good time to share another “Word Search” post in these parts.

To the uninitiated, I get some very random, often humorous yet disturbing search terms that lead to my blog. Sometimes I can tell which post might have led them there, but sometimes I’m completely confused.

For example, I’m not sure what it means that “midget goat porn” has shown up in the list, but I assume it’s not favorable for me. Actually, it’s not very favorable for whoever is Googling “midget goat porn.”

But without further ado, let’s begin (my notes in the parenthesis.)

Walking in a Winter Wonder Word Search

  • Gordon Ramsay yells at a girl about mashed potatoes that can kill you
  • Foods found in the freezer “sextion”
  • I’m stuck inside a snow globe with a gnome
  • Which one of my personalities offends you?
  • I’d rather sit in my bed without a bra on (Who wouldn’t?)
  • Skinny squirrel as an Elvis impersonator
  • I am Sylvia Plath in a thong
  • Homemade pellet gun traps for unicorns (Creative hobby, I suppose)
  • Look at that bitch eating her crackers
  • I find peace when I’m confused (I am a very peaceful person)
  • I’m allergic to stupidity so I break out in sarcasm
  • Good grammar is hot
  • Melissa Rivers looks like Steven Tyler (So, so true)
  • Hamsters using nunchucks (This needs to be a reality show)
  • I would exercise but it makes me spill my drink
  • Epileptic cardio machine (a very unfortunate typo on their part)
  • Jump into a taxi and yell “Mascara is evil!”
  • Squirrels at dentist’s office in race cars (Again, I need to see this)
  • At Christmas we sit around a dead tree and eat things out of an old sock
  • My pet raccoon has sneezing spells. What’s wrong with him?
  • The popcorn you make in your pants (ironically found under the search term, “things to be grateful for”)

Although I’ve never made popcorn in my pants and am pretty confident I never will, I am grateful for this blog and all of my readers who have become my friends—even weirdos who arrived here by Googling “Polish banana clips.”

Now it’s back to work and then opening every can in my house with my new electric can opener, giving thanks the creepy “Elf on a Shelf” is gone for a year and prying the cat off the ceiling after hiding the “Xtreme Catnip” Santa Paws brought.

‘Tis the season, my friends!

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Making Spirits Bright

I don’t remember when I first “found out” about Santa, but I do know that I kept on pretending long after that day. Part of it was because I didn’t want to stop believing in something so magical and fun, and part of it was because I didn’t want my mom to be bummed.

She was always incredible about keeping the magic alive, wrapping the gifts in different paper, writing in different handwriting, putting reindeer food on the deck, etc. There isn’t a Christmas from my early childhood that I don’t remember being special in some way. Along with traditions and large family gatherings, I also had that youthful innocence that made everything seem merry and bright.

Now, at age 31, I have to admit that I’ve become a bit cynical about the holidays.

Between the loss of traditions and large family gatherings, the rampant and unnecessary consumerism, no holiday break, a dash of deep depression and being forced to listen to “So This Is Christmas” while waiting in the doctor’s office, I would much rather just skip to January 2 when (relative) normalcy can reoccur.

I know, I know. Ba humbug.

But last Saturday night my mom was at it again, this time at the home with the old people. She came armed with two strings of colored lights, two dozen foam ornaments/treat bags I made the night before and a few other decorative things.

wreaths

More arts and crap.

My grandma, stuck in her bed and out of her mind, delighted in the simple addition of one string of lights to her window, to the new snowman candy dish, to the battery-operated candle, to our off-key duet of “Jingle Bells” complete with (requested and stereotypical Polish white girl) dance moves.

And so was Jerry, the man who lives in the room right next door to my grandma.

His room, stark and empty in contrast to that of my grandma’s, soon was adorned with one string of lights, a battery-operated candle and a foam wreath and gingerbread man (he didn’t request the duet.) The look on his face—usually stoic and hard—was enough to make all spirits bright.

He had us move his wheelchair to the center of the room and turn off the lamp so he could sit there and stare at the lights, and he kept telling us how wonderful it was, how happy that string of lights made him. As we walked out the door and back into the hall, I couldn’t have agreed with him more.

Young or old, the magic’s still there as long as you choose to believe.*

*Off-key duet of “Jingle Bells” complete with stereotypical Polish white girl dance moves not required, but I’m pretty sure it couldn’t hurt.

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Senior Moments: Elvis

I realize that the job of words is to describe things, but sometimes there just aren’t enough words to describe seeing nuns and senior citizens in wheelchairs dirty dancing with an Elvis impersonator on a sunny Saturday afternoon in September.

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However, I will try in the latest “Senior Moments” installment. (The others can be found by searching that term on my sidebar.) 

This past weekend was the annual community carnival at the old people’s place. The term “carnival” is a bit of a stretch, but they fill the huge parking lot and yard with booths of games for the kids, a very modest petting zoo, a bounce house (for the kids, not the seniors) and carts/tables of food, ice cream and drinks donated by local businesses.

Gram was having one of her good days, so mom and I wheeled her outside to mingle among the residents, employees and their families, goats, nuns wearing bright green “St. Ann’s Carnival 2012” T-shirts over their habits and…Elvis.

Oh yes.

Elvis had left the building and set up shop on the makeshift stage. He was the real deal, resplendent in a white jumpsuit bedazzled with gold and silver gleaming in the late afternoon sun. His black hair hardly moved when the gentle breeze blew, and his sideburns accented his exposed chest hair of a similar hue.

While many of those in the audience were aware that this wasn’t in fact the real Elvis, there was one senior friend who informed the Hunka Hunka Burning Love that she saw him in concert in 1957 and threw her panties on stage.

We were all just relieved that she didn’t try and recreate that moment.

Elvis was actually awesome, although with his gyrating hips and plethora of “silk” scarves to give out to the ladies, I think at times he forgot that he was working a crowd of senior citizens, children and nuns.

One nun who had recently celebrated her 60th anniversary of sisterhood joined Elvis on stage for a rousing rendition of “Little Sister,”— dancing like she had been into the holy wine a wee bit too much — while Sister Judith grabbed the microphone stand and proceeded to dip left and right, a back-up singer to the King and the Lord for “Devil In Disguise.”

When Elvis made his way towards Gram for a song, she joined in signing and dancing in her chair while the King placed a scarf around her neck. When asked later by a friend about this budding romance, she replied, “He’s got business to take care of and I’m too tired right now. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be up for some fun yet tonight.”

He continued making the rounds as each song came over the speakers, changing the words to fit the situation at times —“I really want one of those hot dogs” (sung to “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog”)—while the nuns continued to dance in the grass.

Add in a middle-aged woman who apparently thought she was at a karaoke bar after last call, an old guy who yelled, “what the hell are you doing?” when the microphone was thrust in his face and a dog dragging his ass across the grass in front of the stage, and that pretty much sums up the moment.

So as Elvis finished his rendition of “Rolling Down to St. Ann’s,” that’s just what we did, rolling Gram back inside to the dining room to trade in her scarf for a “clothing protector” and food.

She is, after all, still the Queen.

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Senior Moments: Hail Mary

June 21 is not only the first full day of summer, but also my grandma’s 90th birthday.

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This is how we party—batting helmets and bibs.

If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you know that she’s quite a gem, to say the least. I’ve written many posts about our “Senior Moments” at the home — everything from Bingo etiquette to dating advice — but I haven’t had many to share lately simply because there aren’t as many funny moments as there were in the past.

Heck, she’s 90.

You can’t expect her to tap dance and sing, although she often requests that my mom and I do a little of both. But she did call an old lady a cocksucker yesterday, so there’s that. Considering she’s 90, I suppose she gets a free pass on that one only because the woman referenced wasn’t a nun.

It could always be worse.

Anyway, the Tigers serendipitously had a day game today, so we spent the afternoon watching the game and treating her like the Polish queen that she is.

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There was a hot dog bar—which meant I had to explain once again to her that tube meat is not vegetarian so she could call me a spinster hippie—Cracker Jacks, decorations and cake.

It was also 352 degrees in that room, yet she still insisted on bundling up and telling us that she was cold.

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That’s her friend Evy that I named a doll after when I was little. I also had a doll named Gert and obviously no young friends. 

Anyway, as a mini-tribute I’m doing that annoying thing where I link back to some of the funnier old posts that you might have missed the first time around. (I promise my next post will be “new” and probably not improved.)

If you have a few minutes, I invite you to get to know the woman who inspired me to complete my first full phrase as a fat little baby — “goddamn dog.” She claims that she doesn’t know where I picked it up from, as it surely wasn’t from the 203 times a day she would yell at their old poodle Pokie to get off of the couch.

From that point on she only swore in Polish, which meant I only swore in Polish. At least at that point no one knew what the fat little baby was saying.

Again, it could always be worse.

So Happy 90th Birthday Gram.

I’m not sure I could love you much more.

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Senior Moments

Senior Moments Bingo

Senior Moments Opening Day

Senior Moments Dating

Senior Moments Fork Fight

It Was a Drive-By Beaching

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