good grief, loss of parent, self-discovery

The Cheese Stick and a Hug

I have been struggling lately. I am sad more days than not. It’s been about six months since my mother’s death and I feel I am deep in the sadness part of my grief process. I have no more denial to protect me. I must move forward through this raw, biting pain that sits on my chest and weighs my movements as if I am submerged in water.

Today has been particularly rough. No rhyme, no reason. I have this overwhelming sadness that feels so powerful that it’s like carrying around another full-grown, helpless person.

I am home today with T.Puzzle. This is the first day in a long while that I didn’t have a million and one things to do. I have time to be still. I hate it. I can’t run anymore. I have to face the fact that my Mom is never coming back. She is gone forever. End of story.

I have to admit (and not proudly), T.Puzzle is watching a lot more television than I normally allow. I don’t have it in me to be ‘Mommy’ today. At least it’s stuff like Sesame Street so it will hopefully reinforce his letter recognition and won’t be a total wash.

He can tell I feel off today. He’s not fighting me at every corner. He’s been more gentle and loving which I appreciate. It’s amazing the intuitive nature that children possess. I hope he always keeps that.

I was sitting on the couch staring into nothingness and feeling downright sorry for myself. T.Puzzle came over and climbed on my lap. It’s surreal that feeling you get when you are holding one of your children. You sort of lose where you begin and they end. It’s like the physical boundaries of the world melt away and disappear into the love you have for one another. It felt good. I liked the weight of his body pressing into the sadness that sat deep in my gut. I didn’t hold him for too long. I understand that my grief is ultimately a solitary process. It’s not up to a child to fix an adult’s broken heart. I have to sit with it and come to terms with it all by myself.

I lifted him up and gave him a snack, a cheese stick of all things. He ate it with hearty enthusiasm. I went back and found my position on the couch and began my pity party all over again.p9173290

T.Puzzle finished his cheese stick, came over to me and climbed right back up on my lap. Who am I to fight the wisdom of my own child? Maybe he knows that I need him more than he needs me in this moment. Sometimes Mommies need band-aids for our hurts. Sometimes all we really need is a hug.


Dance Party

The world keeps moving even if you feel sad on your birthday. You turn another year older, your children need you to get them breakfast and if you live in my house, my boys are in constant motion. That’s the beauty of my life.

As I observe the commotion that surrounds me, I am reminded that joy and energy are all around. It starts as soon as they hand me my birthday card. It is has a Madagascar (an animated movie) theme and plays music when you open it (of course!). Soon, there is a veritable dance-party taking place in my living room.

I am soon overwhelmed by the dancing intensity and I make the decision to opt for some quiet. I head to the lanai to read my book club selection for the month (unfortunately, I’m not enjoying it). Not so shockingly, I have two visitors join me. Almost immediately, Full Speed orders T.Puzzle to push him up and down the length of our lanai on a too-small-for-him push car. This is a chaotic process and soon Full Speed is flying about and T.Puzzle is tumbling all around and laughter rises up and escapes through the screens into the atmosphere (a lovely, lovely sound).


After this activity has run its course, we are back inside. I am at the computer working on my blog and Full Speed comes up to me. He hands me a plastic ring that has a soccer ball affixed to it. He launches in to the pros and cons of wearing the ring on each finger eventually landing on the index finger as being the best (worn on this finger, you are able to form your hand into a fist with the greatest ease). He talks to me at length about this and it is hard for me to keep a straight face. He is so seriously passionate about discerning the BEST finger, that his forehead is deeply furrowed. Oh, how I love this little guy.

Mad Dog and I need to formulate our plan to get us all safely through our day until the boys’ bedtime. Mad Dog is at the table with the paper spread before him.

“How about this for an outing?” he begins. “At 1:45 they are having a showing of Thomas the Train at the cinema,” I immediately feel my heart drop to my feet (I am not in the mood, on my birthday of all days, for a train movie). Then, Mad Dog shocks me. “How about I take the boys by myself? That can be part of your birthday present.” Uh,….. yeah, you don’t have to ask me twice. All I can say is thanks Mad Dog; you’re a brave, brave soul.

Eventually, Full Speed is back in my face asking me what a Transformer that turns into a football is called. “I don’t know,” I counter, “F-Ball?” As soon as the words leave my mouth I realize that taken out of context, ‘F-Ball’ could be negatively construed. I make a mental note to tell Full Speed to only say ‘F-Ball’ in the house (or maybe not at all) and to refrain from using it at school especially in reference to his classroom’s bully (you know who you are).

All this while, T.Puzzle is by the couch trying to do a headstand (without much success) singing “Uh-oh, Cheerios!” over and over again. What in the world is going through that two year old mind of his? Why a headstand and why sing about Cheerios?

I love that on an ordinary day (because unless a birthday is their own, the day is ordinary to them) my boys bring a liveliness to everything they do. They make run of the mill days quirky and blog-worthy. That makes me feel like dancing (cue the Madagascar-card music) even at my advanced age.

good grief, self-discovery, self-image/self-acceptance

Whack Tooth

Two perfect smiles
Two perfect smiles

My tooth hurts. Yeah, it’s been hurting for about a month and a half. You know how we Moms are, last on the priority list not daring to add another appointment to our already jam-packed lives.

On our weekend getaway when T.Puzzle vomited his body weight, Mad Dog noticed I was using a tooth-paste for sensitive teeth. He said enough is enough; you are going to the dentist. Oh, joy.

Mad Dog took the initiative to track down a dentist and get all our insurance ducks in a row. He is a task-master this one is. One of the many reasons I love him. It can also be slightly annoying when you are desperately refusing to believe you are in need of immediate dental attention. I don’t like the dentist. The only one who enjoys it in our family is Full Speed. He likes that you get a new toothbrush when you are finished.

How, you may ask yourself, in the middle of all this dental hi-jinks, could I possibly be sad and miss my Mom? It is bizarre the way that your grief keeps itself quietly in your pocket and then jumps out and yells, “Surprise, you are no where near feeling normal and whole again, my dear!” Then it slips into dormancy waiting for the next moment you smugly believe you are doing okay.

My wisdom teeth are whack. So much so, that I had three employees of the dental facility make a stop in my room to say, “We have never seen the likes of wisdom teeth like yours before.” For real.

See if you can find the crazy tooth
See if you can find the crazy tooth

Not only are my wisdom teeth embedded deep in my gums (likely to never surface), they are perpendicular to my molars. They also tilt down a bit appearing as if they are aiming to crash into my jaw bone. They don’t cause me pain but have forced my gums to configure in an odd way forming pockets that are prone to infection. This is most likely what is causing the sensitivity in my molar region. Hopefully, a thorough cleaning and pricey mouthwash that is so magical, you can only purchase it at your dentist’s office (of course) will do the trick. So three hours (thank God for Mad Dog’s Mom who watched Full Speed who was still home from school with a low-grade fever) and nearly two-hundred dollars later (I would have much rather spent that at a spa!), I was ready for clearance.

Do you know who else had freakish wisdom teeth? My Mom. She had the exact same oddity where they never surfaced and jutted perpendicularly up against her molars. They never caused her too much of a problem either.

I take that back, they did cause me a problem today. They reminded me of the loss of my Mom. Luckily, when a tear of sadness formed in the corner of my eye, I was able to put it off as a tear of physical pain. You know how hygenists can be. Even though mine was a perfectly lovely woman, she wielded her metal hooks and probes like a ninja warrior.

I’m not upset that I imperfectly inherited my Mom’s wisdom teeth or that they reminded me of my loss; I’m actually kind of grateful. It’s another physical token that I am my Mom’s girl. I am always going to be her girl. That makes me smile, whack teeth and all.

good grief


I’m sad. Some days I feel happy, some days I feel confident and that anything is possible (like yesterday when I started my blog), and some days I am downright moody. My moods change like the wind. I’m all four seasons in one day. Usually, when a sad cloud blocks my sun, it takes a little bit of work on my part to find my way again. Then the cycle starts anew.

My Mom died in March. She was 67 years old. Our relationship was not without complications as so many mother/daughter relationships are. I miss her every day even if we didn’t always see eye to eye.

Since the loss of my Mom I have decided to grow my hair out. I’ve had the quintessential angled bob that everyone seems to have had in the past 2-3 years. I’m about the same age as Posh Spice, who claims to have started that trendy, angled cut, and my husband is a soccer player nicknamed Mad Dog (okay, so he played it in high school but he was really, really good or so I’m told). Posh is a little more attractive, well, maybe, a lot more attractive and a tad more financially sound. Her husband has also been slightly more successful at making soccer his lifetime career than my husband. That’s not my point. It’s the haircut.

For the past two years that was the haircut my Mom saw me have. She had seen me give birth to my second son (T.Puzzle) and attempt to juggle my new baby, older son (Full Speed), a dog, a marriage and a move. I have come to identify with the haircut. I was going to be a sassy short-haired girl indefinitely. It fits me like a glove.

Then my Mom died, my world stopped and I decided to grow my hair out.

My hair is definitely longer now. I can put it in a tiny, desperate pony tail. The longer my hair grows, the farther I am from the point at which my Mom last knew me. That is making me sad….today.